LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX18) — As grocery prices rise, some stores worry people could be turning to theft to cover their food bill.
One store manager said a recent run with fake bills has him wanting to act before it becomes a bigger problem.
"As grocery prices go up, we are going to have to watch thieving a whole lot," said Critchfield Meats and Family Market manager Jerry Cinnamon.
He says most shoppers here are great lifelong customers.
But a recent encounter with some convincing counterfeit bills has him and the store on high alert.
"The bank will call us and when they count our money it's counterfeit," said Cinnamon.
"Some 5's and some 20's go through. They were already on paper that had been bleached out."
Cinnamon says that fake money initially passed the "pin test". But now they'll start taking things a step further and checking for a watermark before accepting suspicious cash.
But with food inflation climbing to five percent this month, cinnamon says rising food prices means they will have to keep a close eye out for any more fake cash and other illegal activity in the store.
"We're watching the store a whole lot better. We are thinking about not letting backpacks in because that's just an easy way for someone to throw stuff in and just walk out the door."
For now, he's asking cash payers to take a closer look at their money before handing over to the cashier.
We reached out to Lexington P.D. about anymore counterfeit bill sightings and we are still waiting to hear back.
Officers say if stores want to report theft of any amount, they will come out to make a report.
But it is the owner's choice if they want to prosecute.