Clay and Mae Cowgill were eager to earn some extra cash from their clutter. They were having a huge garage sale at their Gilbert home, selling a "collection of stuff from over the years."
Business was great on Friday. They unloaded more than half their items. Saturday was slower but it was still action-packed. Something the Cowgills could've done without.
It was early in the day when a Grinch stopped by. It happened during a busy time, when at least four cars with buyers had stopped at the same time.
"Folks were asking lots of questions and my wife was making change," Clay said. "We were swamped." That's when another woman asked Mae if she could break a $50 bill.
Clay piped in his opinion: "I told the woman it depended on how much she bought. And she turned around and grabbed something right beside her and said, 'How about this?' " The woman picked up a few craft items totaling $9. Clay gave her the change and she and her male companion left.
All seemed well until it came time to count the money. The Cowgills noticed that $50 bill didn't look quite right.
"The front side looked fine but the back looked kind of funny," Clay said. "So, we went over to the bank and they verified that it was a counterfeit . . . and a pretty good one."
Turns out the bill was slightly smaller than regular U.S. currency and an identifying watermark was missing. So, the criminals paid with a fake 50 and made away with $41 of Clay's real money.