By Greg Rickabaugh, FortMillSun.com
Cashiers at a McDonalds in Fort Mill immediately knew they had been given a fake $100 bill for the one-dollar McChicken sandwich.
The bill had pink Chinese lettering on it.
So they called the cops. The bizarre incident led to this week’s arrest of 17-year-old Andrew Patenaude of Fort Mill for obtaining goods under false pretenses.
The teen made the order Tuesday night at the restaurant’s drive-thru at 3490 Highway 21, according to a sheriff’s report. Cashiers asked Patenaude to wait in the pick-up line. Deputies responded to their call and found the teen behind the wheel of a vehicle that reeked of marijuana, the report says. Two passengers inside the vehicle were searched and released.
The suspect claimed that he got the $100 bill as a form of change from a larger bill.
“Andrew stated that he did not know it was fake and that he and his two friends got hungry, so they were at McDonalds seeking one chicken sandwich,” the deputy’s report said.
One of the passengers spoke up, telling the deputy that the bill was originally his and he got it from selling a TV a month ago. He couldn’t provide any details on the TV and said he had kept the bill in his pocket the entire time. He said he had never seen a hundred-dollar bill before and figured “that is what they look like,” a report says.
Officers released the two passengers to Patenaude’s mom and searched the car, finding only marijuana stems and empty cigar wrappers.
According to media reports, the fake bills are Chinese training bills. They look nearly identical to real American $100 bills, but have pink Chinese script on both sides, which translates to “Training Money SAMPLE Only for Practice – Circulation Forbidden.”
Police experts say the bills can be bought online for as low as $3 for a stack of 20. Trying to pass it as real currency in the U.S. can be classified as a Class 4 felony under the same federal law against printing counterfeit money, according to media reports.
Greg Rickabaugh is editor of FortMillSun.com, a partner with The MillTown News in reporting on crime in the Fort Mill area.