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Cashier in Pittsburgh has million reasons to doubt

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By Jill King Greenwood
Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2007

The likeness of Grover Cleveland is on this fake $1 million bill. Cleveland's portrait is on the genuine $1,000 bill, which has been out of circulation since 1969.

If you're going to spend counterfeit money, it might help to use a denomination that actually exists.

An unidentified man who asked a Giant Eagle cashier to make change for his $1 million bill learned that lesson the hard way, Pittsburgh police said Monday.

The man entered the store on Cedar Avenue in the North Side shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday. He walked to the customer service counter, handed over the bill containing the likeness of Grover Cleveland and asked for change, police Cmdr. Catherine McNeilly said.

The cashier refused and called the manager, McNeilly said. The manager told the man the bill was not real and the man asked for the bill back.

When the manager refused -- telling the man the store had a policy of not returning counterfeit money -- the man became enraged and grabbed an electronic funds transfer machine and slammed it against the counter, McNeilly said.

The man then reached for the cashier's scanner gun, and the manager called police, McNeilly said.

The man was not carrying identification and refused to give his name to police. He was being held yesterday in the Allegheny County Jail as John Doe.

McNeilly said police hope to identify him through fingerprints.

Giant Eagle spokesman Dan Donovan said store officials can't comment on incidents that occur at the store once police are involved.

Cleveland's portrait circulated on the $1,000 bill, which the federal government stopped distributing in 1969, according to the U.S. Treasury.

The $100 bill is the largest bill in circulation and has been since 1969, according to the Treasury. The largest bill ever printed is the $100,000 gold certificate, which was made in 1934 and 1935, and used only for transactions between Federal Reserve banks.

The $1 million bill seized Saturday might have originated from a Dallas-based ministry, which last year distributed thousands of religious pamphlets with a picture of the bogus bill, police said.

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