To Minneapolis police, burglar's clue looks like a million bucks

  • Updated: December 6, 2008 - 8:38 AM

The million-dollar tip wasn't much use to Minneapolis restaurant owner Clementina Serna, but the fake bill bought a would-be burglar a fast trip to jail.

Minneapolis police said Henry Downs, Jr. broke into El Norteno restaurant early Thursday and forced open the cash register, where he found a handful of change and the faux cash a regular customer had left as a joke several weeks before.

He pocketed it all, but only made it a couple of blocks from the business at 4000 E. Lake St. before police who had been tracking his footprints through the snow found Downs at a bus stop, dressed all in black.

In his pocket was a razor blade, change and the million-dollar bill. Downs, 40, of Minneapolis was charged with felony third-degree burglary.

It's unclear whether Downs thought the money was real, but to Serna and her employees, it was comic relief that he even bothered to take it.

"It was a funny thing, believe me," Serna said Friday. "When the cops asked us what was missing, I said only change and a million-dollar bill. We know it wasn't real, you know, but it was good proof."

Downs remains in the Hennepin County Jail on $10,000 bail -- in real money.

ABBY SIMONS

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