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Four busted for bogus $100s

Police arrested four suspects, none of them island residents, after counterfeit $100 bills were passed at two or more Winslow businesses last week.

Several merchants reported receiving bogus Benjamins on April 22-23, discovering the fakes while preparing their deposits, according to Bainbridge Police reports.

At least one suspect was caught on a store security camera, and was identified by Poulsbo Police after similar counterfeit bills turned up at stores there.

An investigation led to the arrest of four suspects, two males and two females ranging in age from 15-23. Three are Poulsbo residents, the fourth from Seattle.

The suspects admitted to passing five counterfeit hundreds on Bainbridge, although only two of the bills were reported by merchants. Another five or so were passed in Poulsbo.

The suspects face charges of forgery in Kitsap County Superior Court. They are not believed to have printed the bills themselves.

Police described the bills as fairly accurate facsimiles of real currency, betrayed by discoloration of the serial number ink on the front and poor alignment of the image area on the back.

Detective Scott Anderson said the suspects typically would use a bogus note to purchase about $20 worth of items, and walk away with the balance as change.

At least one transaction was timed as a store was about to close for the night so the checker would be distracted.

“If you were in a hurry, you would accept it as a good bill,” Anderson said.

Local banks have been advised to watch for counterfeits in merchant deposits.

****Students face fines for break-in

Two teenage boys face charges in juvenile court stemming from an early March burglary at the Commodore Center, and their parents likely will be fined by the school district as well.

The youths, Bainbridge High School students ages 15 and 16, admitted to stealing laptop computers and causing damage to the school building, Bainbridge Police Detective Scott Anderson.

They were identified as suspects by parents who learned of the break-in, Anderson said. The case was sent to the juvenile prosecutor after a month-long investigation.

Anderson said the youths used a crowbar and other tools to enter the building, then turned off the power to defeat an alarm system.

Laptop computers, two-way radios and medication from the school nurse’s office were stolen.

At least one vending machine was broken into, the building phone system was damaged, and walls were sprayed with graffiti.

Some of the items were recovered by police. The suspects said they flushed the medications down the toilet, although some were ingested by friends at a drinking party, they said.

Anderson said the boys also admitted to recent vandalism at the high school football grandstand – a window was broken out, and the building was sprayed with graffiti – and trying to set fire to the dome-like yurt on the Bethany Lutheran Church grounds.

Ken Crawford, superintendent of Bainbridge schools, said that once the case has been adjudicated in the courts, the district will try to recover from parents the cost of building repairs and equipment replacement. He estimated damages to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Going after parents to pay for vandalism will become district policy, Crawford told the school board at a recent meeting.

Failure to repay the district could result in a student not being allowed to graduate, he said.

“It’s the same if a student took a textbook and set it on fire. He’d owe us a textbook,” Crawford said.

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