The Nanaimo RCMP are issuing an advisory after a number of stained bank notes have been surfacing at businesses on Vancouver Island.
The bills are believed to have originated from an ATM heist in Okanagan Falls on July 11th, are being used at coin operated car washes, gas stations and vending machines where they can easily be converted into change. The most recent incident occurred in Nanaimo on Tuesday July 26 at the Northfield Esso. In that incident two males, later seen by surveillance cameras , exchanged $900 dollars for $1 and $2 dollar coins. The operator only found about the fraud when he later emptied the machine and found the stained bills.
Other incidents have occurred in other jurisdictions on Vancouver Island. The first was in Victoria on Sunday July 25th and involved a male entering the Victoria General Hospital and exchanging approximately $800 dollars in $20 dollar bills for loonies. Shortly thereafter, a male entered a Co-0p gas station and purchased $820 dollars in gift cards using $20 dollar bills. The same scam was attempted at a Petro-Canada in Duncan but an alert employee confronted the suspect before he could exchange any of the money. On the 27th a bank in Duncan reported to the RCMP they had received over $2000 dollars in stained money from a local gas station.
The incident in Okanagan Falls occurred on July 11th at 2:55 AM and involved a stolen bob cat ripping off the front doors to a local IGA market. Surveillance cameras show the bobcat loading the ATM into a van then leaving the area. The van was later recovered as were the remains of the ATM. It appears paint exploded from within the ATM and tainted the stolen money.
Two males associated to these incidents may be driving an older model Lincoln. One of the males appears briefly on surveillance camera from one of the locations . The only description of the two are that they are white, in their 20-30’s and approximately 5 ft 10 with short brown hair.
Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or go online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.