Two men wanted for passing counterfeit bills are in custody, due to Police Chief Al Fiore's watchful eye. Westport's top cop was driving by Torno Hardware when he spotted the suspects' car. "This capture was on the chief," said Capt. Sam Arciola.
Police received a call from Dan's Liquors at about 4:15 p.m. yesterday, saying someone tried to pass off a fake $100 bill in the store. Another counterfeit turned up at nearby Colonial Druggist & Surgical Supply. Investigators grabbed a description of the suspects' car, a grey Ford Five Hundred. Fiore spotted it and called it in.
Fiore and Deputy Chief Dale Call took up positions near the vehicle while Capt. Foti Koskinas, dressed in plainclothes, went into the International Wine Shop. Koskinas watched Trentdell J. Rogers, 39, of Woodside, N.Y., try to make a purchase with one of the phony bills, and took him into custody.
In the Torno Hardware parking lot, Fiore and Call apprehended Walter L. Nichols, 40, of Macungie, Pa. He was identified as the second man distributing the counterfeits and the get-away driver.
Arciola said it was common for criminals running this sort of scam to leave a car running a few lots down from the targeted businesses. That way, the suspect entering the store could make his escape with less chance of the shop owner getting a description of the vehicle.
The police seized 24 counterfeit $100 bills. In return for their forged bills, Rogers and Nichols had taken in almost $1,000 which was also taken as evidence.
Both men were wanted for questioning for similar incidents in a number of jurisdictions including Norwalk, Groton and Milford. The Connecticut State Police and the Secret Service are helping the investigation.
Nichols and Rogers were both charged with forgery first degree, larceny sixth degree, conspiracy to commit larceny sixth degree and criminal attempt at larceny sixth degree. Each are being held on $250,000 bonds.