Counterfeit weekend

The arrest of Luis Hernando Valasco, 55, of Van Nuys is linked to a weekend counterfeit crime that involved several area merchants.

On Friday, the Apple Cart in the 1500 block of Foothill Boulevard reportedly received a counterfeit $50 bill for a purchase made by a woman, described as African American. She purchased an item for $5.92, handed the employee a $50 bill and received change.

On that same day, three other businesses were found to have accepted counterfeit bills. The first, Rosemont Pet Hospital in the 2500 block of Foothill, reported that an African American man, 5' 11” at 170 pounds entered the hospital and purchased dog treats and a cat collar. He too paid with a $50 bill that was later found to be counterfeit. Deputies investigated other stores within the same strip mall and found that T.J. Nails and Magical Cuts had received forged bills from the apparent same suspect. At each store he paid with a $50 bill.

On Saturday, a Hispanic woman attempted to pay for an item at Apple Cart with a $100 bill, but the employee said she thought the color of the bill looked wrong and refused to accept it. The woman then hurried away from the store and employees observed her enter a gold Mercedes Benz, where another person was waiting. Later, deputies stopped a vehicle matching the car's description and arrested Valasco. He was found with a large amount of U.S. currency in miscellaneous denominations underneath the driver's floor mat. The woman was not found, and the connection between the earlier incidents is under investigation.

Anyone with information can call the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station, (818) 248-3464.

? mary.okeefe@latimes.com


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