Counterfeit ring foiled on Queen Street

Nicholas Herne, left, and Antonio Cora, right, were arrested for a string of counterfeit attempts on Queen Street in Southington and neighboring towns.

Southington police arrested two Pennsylvania men for their involvement in an attempt to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at businesses on Queen Street. The investigation led to the arrest of Antonio Cora, 27, of Philadelphia, Pa. and Nicholas Herne, 34, of Chester, Pa.

Police received a report on Friday, Sept. 7, at 5:14 p.m., that a man attempted to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at the Bed Bath and Beyond at 825 Queen St. The bill was not accepted, and the man left the store. The store manager followed and observed the male get into a Jeep Grand Cherokee and provided police with the New York registration information on the vehicle.  The store manager also followed the vehicle to Buffalo Wild Wings, located at 750 Queen St., while calling police to report the incident.

Police arrived at Buffalo Wild Wings and found Cora exiting the restaurant and returning to the vehicle, which was occupied by Herne. Cora had attempted to purchase food at the restaurant using a counterfeit bill, but he was refused.

Further investigation revealed that Cora and Herne both entered multiple stores and restaurants in the area and made purchases or attempted purchases using counterfeit $100 bills. Bags from Petco, Dollar Tree, Chipotle, Mission BBQ, Chik-Fil-A, Pet Valu in Southington, along with Kohl’s in Wallingford and Gamestop in Meriden, were found in the vehicle. Clerks from the stores were able to identify the men as having been in the locations on the same day and either making purchases or attempting to and being declined.

Cora was charged with two counts of first degree forgery, two counts of sixth degree larceny, two counts of criminal attempt to commit first degree forgery, two counts of criminal attempt to commit sixth degree larceny.

Herne was charged with first degree forgery, sixth degree larceny, two counts of criminal attempt to commit first degree forgery, and two counts of criminal attempt to commit sixth degree larceny.

Both men were held on $25,000 bonds and were scheduled to appear in Bristol court on Sept. 10.

Police notified the other businesses that were involved as well as the U.S. Secret Service. The counterfeit bills were seized as evidence.

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