Crime

UPDATE: Paso Robles police identify person of interest in counterfeit bills case

Paso Robles police have identified a person of interest in their investigation into two suspects who are believed to have passed counterfeit $100 bills at businesses in the city in recent days.

The department is now looking for county resident Brandon Vinnedge, 41, and is asking for the public’s help locating him.

On May 6, a man entered Alliance Board Shop at 1233 Park St. about 11:15 a.m. and purchased a pair of socks with a $100 bill. He was given change for the transaction. The bill used was later discovered to be fraudulent.

The suspect was last seen wearing a black and gray flannel jacket, black hat and blue jeans. He’s described by witnesses as being in his late 20s with a medium build, getting into a black Lincoln LS believed to be between the years of 2000 and 2002.

Officers responded to a second report of a counterfeit purchase at 1222 Spring St., where a heavyset man with a goatee bought a $100 gift card with a counterfeit $100 bill and left the business. That suspect was described by the victim as 5 feet 8 inches tall to 5 feet 11 inches and 300 pounds with a goatee and tattoos on his forearms.

Pasosuspect.JPG
Surveillance video captured an imagine of one of the suspects who passed fake $100 bills at Paso Robles businesses. Paso Robles Police Department

While investigating those incidents, Paso Robles police received two additional calls regarding subjects attempting to pass fraudulent $100 bills at Napa Auto and Dollar General stores. Paso Robles police were able to obtain video footage of the two suspects, who matched descriptions of the men in the other incidents.

Authorities are warning the public about an increase in the use of fake money and are reminding “business owners to check currency to ensure its authenticity before completing transactions.”

Anyone with information on Vinnedge’s whereabouts is asked to call 805-237-6464. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers’ 24-hour hotline at 549-STOP or by text “SLOTIPS” plus your message to CRIMES (274637).

This story has been updated with information about the person of interest.

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Nick Wilson covers the city of San Luis Obispo and has been a reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo since 2004. He also writes regularly about K-12 education, Cal Poly, Morro Bay and Los Osos. He is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley and is originally from Ojai.
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