Ahwatukee pet supply shop says man used counterfeit cash to rip them off

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A man reported used a fake $100 to rip off an Ahwatukee business. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A man reported used a fake $100 to rip off an Ahwatukee business. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The girl behind the counter was still in training and never checked the cash to see if it was real. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The girl behind the counter was still in training and never checked the cash to see if it was real. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Once he had his change, he had no plans to stick around, ripping the receipt out of the machine himself and rushing out of the store. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Once he had his change, he had no plans to stick around, ripping the receipt out of the machine himself and rushing out of the store. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
At a glance, it looked legitimate, but on closer inspection, there were a few signs the bill was fake. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) At a glance, it looked legitimate, but on closer inspection, there were a few signs the bill was fake. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
AHWATUKEE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Using funny money is no joke. An Ahwatukee business says a scam artist used fake cash to rip them off.

"Shortly after 2 p.m., he came in just like a regular customer," explained Pet Planet franchise owner Paul Tolaini.  

The security cameras were rolling as the man talked with an employee about what chew to buy for his dog.

Tolaini says he picked up two items, a total of about $25, and headed to the counter with a $100 bill already in hand.

The girl behind the counter was still in training and never checked the cash to see if it was real.

It wasn't. 

"He just caught us at the wrong moment," said Tolaini.

Once he had his change, he had no plans to stick around, ripping the receipt out of the machine himself and rushing out of the store.

It only took a couple of minutes to realize the bill was counterfeit. 

At a glance, it looked legitimate, but on closer inspection, there were a few signs the bill was fake. It did not have the red and blue fibers found on all U.S. currency, it lacked color-shifting ink and the watermark was only visible from the back. 

Tolaini will have to take the hit out of his own paycheck. 

“Singling out local business owners, who, this is their daily living, this feeds my wife and daughter, sometimes $100 is the difference between making money that day and not," he said.  

Now Tolaini is doing all he can to make sure no one else falls victim to this crook's scheme.

"If someone recognizes him, it’s just a matter of time,” said Tolaini. “It's karma, it'll catch up to him."

Learn more about the security features on U.S. currency here.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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