September 27th, 2021


Bait and Swiss

Lenore Skenazy

By Lenore Skenazy

Published June 26, 2020

Bait and Swiss
Hans up! A Swiss 8-year-old was investigated by the police for asking if he could use play money to make a purchase in a village shop.

Note that that kid wasn't even trying to palm the cash off as real — which would have been pretty tough considering it was a euro printed on plain paper decorated with blue Chinese characters. No doubt, this may be a reality someday in Europe. But that day has not yet come.

The fake money was given out at a recent carnival in the town of Sissach, Switzerland. There's a Chinese tradition where family members burn paper versions of everything from mansions to money to Marlboros so that their ancestors will enjoy them in the afterlife. That's what these "euros" were. And, for the record, euros aren't even the curren

cy in the northern Basel-Landschaft region where this occurred. That area uses Swiss francs.

But who gives a flying yodel about such trifles? Store manager Tanja Baumann told the Basler Zeitung newspaper that even though the money was obviously fake, she had to call the cops because: "It is our policy. We were instructed to do so by the headquarters in Winterthur."

Just following ... yeah, yeah. In any event, the incident didn't stop with that call, which must've been pretty strange for the cops at HQ to get: "We've got a perp here. Looks like he's a second grader, but who knows? May be in third. And he's not a lone wolf. Got two accomplices. One seems to be more grizzled. He's the perp's 10-year-old brother. The moll is a girl-next-door type." Because she was, in fact, the little girl who lived next door to the brothers.

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Rather than having a good laugh, someone at the precinct must've done what the Swiss are famous for. No, not making hot chocolate with mini marshmallows. Being meticulous about capital and who is allowed access to it.

And so, cops were dispatched to the young miscreants' house the next day. This was no tip-of-the-hat, "Boys, you're not going to do that again, right?" The visit lasted three hours. What's more, reports The Guardian:

"They brought along stills from surveillance footage, including one of the boy and the girl standing at the till, the report said. ...

"The brothers had mug shots taken."

Couldn't they just use their school photos?

And then their house was searched for more toy money. Er ... counterfeit bills. It took three hours.

Guess that's how the Swiss roll.

A police spokesman said: "We were informed that children with a bundle of counterfeit euro notes tried to buy goods. There was therefore suspicion of counterfeit money being put into circulation."

The Guardian reports he added that "the investigating officer had to determine whether the fake money was used deliberately and whether the children were punishable by law."

Apparently, that's what it takes to close a case in Switzerland. And you thought their clocks were cuckoo.