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3 arrested for counterfeit bills

Gabrielle Sarann

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3 arrested for counterfeit bills

CREATED Aug. 5, 2013

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Deputies in Charlotte County busting a crime ring that thrives on what many people call funny money. They've arrested three people accused of using counterfeit bills at several businesses.

"I felt duped," said Chris Beaton, an employee at the Subway on Peachland Boulevard in Port Charlotte.

It's why Beaton knew he had to act fast.

"So i took out the $20 and i lifted it up and i could tell there was no $20 strip or anything and it felt a little funny," recalled Beaton.

Sunday afternoon the 22-year-old was working the register when he says the trio showed up. One at a time, he says they walked in, bought a soda or a bag of chips. Each paid with a $20 bill and left.

"Which then rang a bell in my head that's a little suspicious," added Beaton.

His hunch was right. The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office says the three were soon pulled over. That's when Beaton walked over and told detectives what happened.  The driver, Byron Harris, was arrested for driving on a suspended license and the two women arrested for forgery.

"[I] felt pretty vindicated when i saw them sitting over there all outside sad faces," said Beaton.

Investigators say the group tried using counterfeit $20 and $10 dollar bills at Charlotte County stores. They bought tires in Englewood before hitting up stores at the Peachland strip mall, including the Chinese restaurant.

"The individuals have been traveling throughout Florida over the weekend and it's believed they may have been passing counterfeit bills throughout the state," said Sgt. Eric Burke, with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.

It's not the way Beaton was raised nor a way of life he has any patience for.

"I was upset," said Beaton. "I've always been taught to work for your money not fake it."

If any other businesses may have been targeted, call the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office at (941) 639-2101.