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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sharp Eyes for Fake Bills Led to Trio’s Arrest

By Dave Matlow

UPDATE The manager of Westport’s Olympia Sports said today she hopes the arrest of a trio of out-of-state men on larceny and forgery charges after one of them tried to pass a fake $100 bill at her store will send a message to others who may want to do the same thing.

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Arrested: (l-r) Jorge Chavez-Vargas, Carlos Feliciano, and Pedro Diaz. Westport Police photos

“I’m glad this is in the media because it may keep counterfeiters away from local stores during the busy Christmas shopping season,” said the manager, who asked that her name not be used.

She said she and another employee were in the store at 403 Post Road East Saturday afternoon when one of the men gave the bogus bill to the employee, who immediately recognized it as counterfeit and brought it to her.

“We’re all trained in security issues so we can recognize bad bills,” she said. “This one had a waxy feel to it and the small printing was not readable.”

She said when she told the person it was counterfeit, he said he wanted the bill back. “We said we are keeping it,” she said. “That’s how we’re trained - -not to return the bad bill.” As soon as the counterfeiter left the store, she dialed 911.

“I called the police on our portable phone, and while they were on the phone I walked to the window and watched him get into a silver Ford with New York plates,” she said. “He then drove out of the shopping mall on to the Post Road, and because he drove in that direction it gave me time to read his license plate.”

“This the first time I’ve ever needed to call the police and I’ve been the store manager for the past five to six years,” she added.

Police said the men had also attempted to pass a counterfeit bill at the nearby CVS Pharmacy.

Police identified the suspects as Carlos Feliciano, 27, of Corona, N.Y.; Pedro Diaz, 38, of Brooklyn. N.Y. and Jorge W. Chaves-Vargas, 37, of Frederick, Md. They were each charged with forgery, attempt to commit forgery, attempted larceny, and conspiracy to commit larceny. Each was held on $50,000 bond pending a court appearance, police said.

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Posted 11/24/13 at 09:02 PM  Permalink



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