The baggage handler in Philadelphia did it.
That was the word on the theft of new $100 Federal Reserve Notes being shipped Oct. 11 from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility in Fort Worth, Texas, to a Federal Reserve warehouse in East Rutherford, N.J.
I have probably seen too many movies, because when I learned that the amount stolen was $20,000, I felt somewhat let down.
How about you?
That’s just 200 notes.
That quantity won’t fit into a wallet, but should be easy enough to fit into a pocket or two in pants, jacket or work uniform.
The amount certainly wouldn’t figure in a movie plot like that of “Ocean’s Eleven.”
If there is a gambling scene in the new James bond movie, “Skyfall,” $20,000 would probably be chump change lost at a gaming table in Monte Carlo or somewhere even more upscale.
Since the handler is just 25 years old, I expect it will be proven that it was simply a crime of opportunity and not a serious threat to the movement of paper money around the country.
The whole shipment was $3.2 million and even the entire amount sounds tiny in an era of annual trillion dollar federal deficits.
Had the baggage handler gotten away with his theft, he would have discovered the new notes are unspendable because they have not been put into general circulation yet.
Did he know that when he took them, or even figure it out later?
He was smart enough to not attempt to spend them, but this was probably due to the fact that he was almost immediately under suspicion rather than from an awareness of the new paper money’s design.
It is nice to know law enforcement works.
Keep that in mind the next time you read about someone being suspected of counterfeiting for trying to spend an old Silver Certificate or current $2 bill.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”