Stained cash turns up on Island

Dye-stained bills believed to have been stolen from ATM machine

  • Aug. 5, 2011 2:00 p.m.
Suspects were videotaped in Nanaimo.

Suspects were videotaped in Nanaimo.

Business owners across Vancouver Island are being warned to check their bills — but not because they are fake.

Rather, the currency is legitimate, but stained with purple ink, an indication they were stolen.

Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said stained bank notes have been surfacing at businesses on Vancouver Island and are believed to have originated from an ATM heist in Okanagan Falls on July 11.

The bills, he said, are being used at coin operated car washes, gas stations and vending machines where they can easily be converted into change. The most recent incident occurred in Nanaimo on Tuesday  July 26 at the Northfield Esso. In that incident two males, later seen by surveillance cameras, exchanged $900 dollars for $1 and $2 coins. 

Other incidents have occurred elsewhere on Vancouver Island. The first was in Victoria on Sunday July 25 and involved a male entering the Victoria General Hospital and exchanging approximately $800 dollars in $20 dollar bills for loonies. Shortly thereafter, a man entered a Co-Op gas station and purchased $820 dollars in gift cards using $20 dollar bills. 

O’Brien said the same scam was attempted at a Petro-Canada in Duncan but an alert employee confronted the suspect before he could exchange any of the money. 

On the 27th a bank in Duncan reported to the RCMP they had received over $2,000 in stained money from a local gas station.

The incident in Okanagan Falls occurred on  July 11th at 2:55 a.m. and involved a stolen bobcat ripping off the front doors to a local IGA market. Surveillance cameras show the bobcat loading the ATM into a van then leaving the area. The van was later recovered, as were the remains of the ATM. It appears paint exploded from within the ATM and tainted the stolen money.

 Two males associated to these incidents may be driving an older model Lincoln. 

One of the males appears briefly on surveillance camera from one of the locations. The only description of the two are that they are white, in their 20s or 30s and approximately five feet,  10 inches tall, with short brown hair.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or go online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com

— News staff

 

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