March 11, 2013 at 4:02 PM ET
Pop quiz: If you are trying to print counterfeit bills and your printer breaks down, do you:
a) Try to return the broken printer, with parts missing, to the nearest Walmart?
b) Play dumb when one of your sheets of fake $100s is still in the disputed printer?
c) Pick a fight with the Walmart staff when they refuse to give you the refund, prompting them to call the police?
d) All of the above
e) None of the above
Chances are, you'd choose "e." But failed mega-money printer Jarad S. Carr went with "d."
Yes, when Carr went to Walmart to return the printer last week, he didn't have a receipt. Not only was it missing the paper tray and installer CD, there was a sheet of paper in it — with two $100 bills printed on it.
The employees at the store in the Village of Lake Hallie, Wis., were trying to help Carr as best they could, but he wasn't doing much to help himself, insisting on a refund even after the fake bills were discovered.
When a clerk handed him the piece of paper he crumpled it up, asked another clerk to throw it away, and then kept pushing for a refund, even trying to get half price for the printer, Lake Hallie Police Chief Cal D. Smokowicz told NBC News Monday. Walmart employees called police after Carr became even more insistent when the store said it would not take back the printer, and he refused to leave.
"He continues to stay there to try to barter with Walmart employees, saying he was willling to accept a lower price," Smokowicz said.
Smokowicz and another officer responded to the call, and when they got there and tried to arrest Carr, 37, he resisted and then tried to leave the store, the only Walmart in the town of 6,700 residents.
"A further search at the jail revealed three additional counterfeit $100 bills on the subject’s person," the police said in a statement. Carr was charged with attempted theft by fraud, forgery and resisting arrest. Turned out, he was already wanted on two felony warrants for armed robbery and burglary from nearby St. Croix County.
The police chief said the piece of paper left in the printer had a hole cut in it where it was obvious a third fake $100 bill had been "cut out very carefully."
The fakes weren't great. "I've seen much better," Smokowicz said.
The paper used to print the fakes was a heavy-weight printer paper, and the colors, "were just a little bit off," a little too blue.
"In a dark bar-type setting, they probably would have passed, but under the bright lights of a bank or a convenience store, somebody would have caught it," the chief said.
U.S. bills are printed on paper made from a special fiber that uses cotton, silk and linen.
Counterfeiting is no laughing matter, despite this inept effort. The Secret Service, which investigates counterfeiting, notes on its website, that "new forms of counterfeiting are on the rise. One reason for this is the ease and speed with which large quantities of counterfeit currency can be produced using modern photographic, printing and computer equipment."
The Secret Service is interviewing a man who had accompanied Carr to the store, Smokowicz told NBC News, but the man is not believed to be involved in counterfeiting, and is cooperating with law enforcement.
Whether Carr makes a "dumbest criminals" list remains to be seen.
"You go to a Walmart with a printer to return and no receipt, with your counterfeit bills still lodged in it, and you want to dicker with the clerks to get half price back, when you have warrants out for you," Smokowicz said. "There are a few lessons here about not drawing attention to yourself."
— via Gizmodo