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Person of interest identified amid increase of counterfeit bills in Paso Robles

Posted at 3:55 PM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 21:55:55-04

Employees and customers are spotting counterfeit bills in Paso Robles and police say it’s been happening for months.

Officers identified a person of interest in the case as one of potentially two suspects.

On Wednesday, police announced the person of interest is Brandon Vinnedge, 41, of San Luis Obispo County.

Police say Brandon Vinnedge, 41, of San Luis Obispo County, is a person of interest in the case. (Photo Courtesy: Paso Robles Police Department)


Now, businesses and customers are carefully checking the currency they receive.

Mark Wilde says he didn’t know he had a fake $100 bill until an ATM rejected it.

He can’t trace where it came from and is upset he was the one who lost out.

“It makes you feel the criminal is gaining and they get away with it and us innocent people are left out to dry,” said Wilde.

Cashiers at the One Stop in Paso Robles deal with a high volume of cash.

One worker says she closely looks at bills of $20 or more after she says someone used a fake bill there this week. However, the store hasn’t officially reported the case to the police yet.

“When we are really busy it will just slip through,” said Mary Booker, One Stop cashier. “It just looked like a really old, washed bill.”

She worries if employees don’t catch it, the counterfeit currency could accidentally be passed along to the customer.

“It’s happened before if you don’t catch it, it does go to somebody,” said Booker.

Most employees have ways of differentiating a real bill from a fake one, but others might not.

“I am very concerned as a customer that I could very likely get a counterfeit bill and no we are not trained to identify them,” said Mary Stephens, a Paso Robles resident.

Police say Alliance Board Shop, Napa Auto Parts and Dollar General all reported use of fake bills.

You can check the authenticity of money by feeling the man’s jacket on the front of the bill. If it has ridges or feels bumpy, then it is real.

You can click here for more tips.

Paso Robles Police have not yet made an arrest.

Officers say you should contact them if you have a fake bill or recognize the suspects.