The call came in to South Burlington Police at about 7 p.m. Thursday night that someone had tried to use a fake 100 dollar bill at Datillio's on Shelburne road. Police say Lateek Cargo of Brooklyn then moved on to a Shell station and was successful at passing off the bill.
"All I know is that a man we have never seen before came in and got some red bulls and some oil and I guess he paid with a counterfeit 100 dollar bill. My clerk put the bill up to the light, saw the strip, did not read the strip, accepted the 100 dollar bill," said Stephen Falconer, the Shell station's manager.
Falconer said the employee misread the security strip, which showed this was in fact a five dollar bill. Police say the suspects bleached five dollar bills then printed 100 dollar bills over them.
Police located the suspect's car just down the road at the Jolly convenience store. "Further investigation revealed they were in possession of counterfeit bills, a printing machine and other evidence associated with the case. That investigation led them back to the travel lodge with a search warrant in hand," said South Burlington Police Lt. Jeff Martel.
There, police located a fourth suspect, Larry Gablrieth, more fake bills, prescription pills and illegal narcotics. Police said all of the men are from New York City and that they believe they have been in town since Tuesday. Police also believe more counterfeit bills will start to turn up throughout Chittenden County.
"Each bill has security features embedded within them. Even the bleaching process did not remove the security features, so it is easy to tell they were counterfeit," Lt. Martel said.
The case has been adopted by the U.S. Attorney General's office. The suspects were arraigned Friday afternoon on a variety of charges.
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