Phony money thwarted at Price Hill church festival

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A South Cumminsville man is out of jail after being arrested Sunday and accused of passing some funny money at a church festival.

It happened in Price Hill at St. Lawrence Church, where there was a little extra excitement at this year's festival. It was a great weekend to attend. The weather was perfect and the festival was heavily attended.

The entire staff is exhausted. They've got a few more days of clean-up, easily, and no problems to report, except for two men who police said tried to pass off a phony $50 bill and got caught.

Cincinnati Police say 49-year old Robert Moore and a 15-year-old boy went to several booths and tried to use a counterfeit $50 bill.

"We probably have 6 or 7 officers for every night of the festival," said Kevin McGinnis, who was working the festival all weekend.

Now, there are dozens of overfilled garbage cans to empty. It is a lot of hard work for everyone. Officials said this was one of the most successful festivals the church has ever had.

The lots were full of people and that meant plenty of opportunities for distraction.

"Exactly," McGinnis said. "You're not looking, you're putting the money away in the cash box and you're moving on. They watch the booths and see how busy you are and they tried to pass the counterfeit money."

McGinnis said it happened at a booth in their "Kiddieland" section of the parking lot.

"Luckily there was enough guys working the booth and they checked the money," he said.

They checked it using a simple device called a counterfeit detector pen and it works like a regular magic marker.

We wanted to see what happens when you swipe a good dollar bill with that counterfeit marker. We showed McGinnis a ten dollar bill. He wrote on it using the detector pen and it showed yellow.

"It stayed yellow," McGinnis said. "Which indicates it's a good bill, if that would turn a grey brown, black, that would be counterfeit."

Both men reportedly had a copy of the same bogus bill.

"They found a wad of money in his pocket with the numbers of the counterfeit money that we were getting that night," McGinnis said.

A long time ago, someone tried to pass some counterfeit money at a bingo game at St. Lawrence's and ever since, they've been on top of things.

"It's a precaution, you know?" McGinnis said. "Make sure we don't, we don't get ripped off."

"Thank God we caught him because he was prepared to do a lot more damage with the wad of money in his pocket," McGinnis said.

Moore and the teen are charged with theft.

The church said this should be a good heads-up for the dozens of area churches getting ready to hold their festivals this coming weekend.

Because for criminals, who may come to play with funny money, it won't be all fun and games.

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