Crooks use solar eclipse to pass counterfeit cash

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The UPS store on Spottswood was a popular place to pick up solar eclipse glasses, but it was also a popular place for thieves.

By midday Monday, the UPS Store on Spottswood was bringing in the sign. They were no longer selling solar eclipse glasses. They had flat run out.

Jason Kim picked up the last 13 pairs.

"I know my office, we are in a rush and couldn't find anywhere else to pick them up. So I was just lucky I guess," said Kim.

But UPS and the vendor providing the glasses weren't so lucky over the weekend. They got taken by a man who claimed he wanted to buy a $5 pair of eclipse glasses.

"He paid $100 and his girlfriend came in too. She also bought another one pair of glasses," said Alia Barrett, the UPS store manager.

Another $100 bill and they still weren't done.

"Her boyfriend came over here and tried to buy packaging materials or office supplies for $7. He paid another $100," said Barrett.

Yep, that's three $100 bills.

"The guy who was selling the eclipse glasses said there is something strange with this guy," said Barrett.

It didn't take long for them to figure out his money wasn't adding up.

"We have this pen that we use. As soon as we wrote down on the money, it's counterfeit money," said Barrett.

They called police, but the crooks were already gone.

"I am shocked. Can't believe something as little as this, they would try to rip people off," said Kim.

The thieves apparently took advantage of the store's busyness and the excitement around the eclipse, walking away with the loot and leaving behind fake bills.

"It was a lesson for us that we have to check everything first too," said Barrett.

The solar eclipse eyeglass vendor was able to get the license plate on the car the thieves were driving and turn it over to police.