Counterfeit money investigation widening

The investigation into the rash of counterfeit money which has popped up at five different schools in Belmont County is continuing.

St. Clairsville Police Officer Jeff Gazdik and Barnesville Police Officer Chris Haines have matched the pictures from surveillance at Bridgeport, Barnesville and St. Clairsville as the same individual.

Gazdik also learned Thursday that Autozone in St. Clairsville received counterfeit money and the pictures from its surveillance cameras also match the same individual believed to be involved with the schools.

Officers are going over surveillance camera set up outside the buildings to attempt to get a vehicle description.

Gazdik is still unsure if the counterfeit money taken in Shadyside is linked. The money in Shadyside was passed at Fleming Field during last Friday’s football game, but there are no cameras at the field.

While Shadyside High principal John Haswell said the serial numbers on all of the $50 bills matched, none of those numbers matched the $50 bills passed in other places. However, Gazdik did confirm that the fake $20 bill accepted at St. Clairsville earlier this week matched the serial number in Shadyside.

The rash of counterfeit money actually started almost two weeks ago at a Martins Ferry volleyball game. Prep football concession stands as well as tournament volleyball games have been hit this week.

All told, some $800 in fake money was passed at the five schools. St. Clairsville and Shadyside were hit the hardest with $370 and $250, respectively.

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