Paper Money

FBI investigates theft of notes

Federal law enforcement officers are investigating the theft of $20,000 worth of redesigned Series 2009 $100 FRNs, shown above.

Images courtesy of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Law enforcement officers are investigating the theft of $20,000 worth of new colorized Series 2009 $100 Federal Reserve notes.

The redesigned notes were shipped aboard a commercial airliner from Dallas to Philadelphia on Oct. 11. The airliner landed at the Philadelphia International Airport at approximately 10:25 a.m., according to a news release from the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Philadelphia.

According to FBI Special Agent Frank Burton Jr., the shipment of notes was taken from the airport by courier service to the East Rutherford Operations Center in East Rutherford, N.J. When the shipment arrived in New Jersey, courier service employees noticed one of the packages had been opened. The theft was reported at approximately 2:00 p.m., Burton said.

The New Jersey facility is the regional office for cash handling and processing for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

According to an FBI news release, the Series 2009 $100 FRNs “are not scheduled to be released into circulation until next year. All merchants are asked to please be on the lookout for these bills.”

Special Agent Burton said the FBI continues to follow all leads and all potential subjects are being investigated. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI office in Philadelphia at 215-418-4000.

Federal Reserve officials have yet to announce an issue date for the new $100 FRNs, but have said that at least six months will pass between the announcement of an issue date and the day of issue.

New designs

The colorized Series 2009 $100 FRNs were originally scheduled to be released into circulation on Feb. 10, 2011. However, on Oct. 1, 2010, the Federal Reserve said the release would be delayed because the BEP had “identified a problem with sporadic creasing of the paper during printing of the new $100 note, which was not apparent during extensive pre-production testing.”

According to officials, the new $100 FRNs are more difficult to print than the older versions because a new ribbon added as a security device creates a small wave in what would otherwise be flat paper. The blue 3-D security ribbon contains images of bells and numeral 100s that move and change from one to the other as the note is tilted. The ribbon is an optically variable device named Motion. The ribbon contains 650,000 tiny glass domes, called micro lenses. According to the BEP, these micro lenses act as magnifiers for the microprinted images on the ribbon. ¦

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