Free-Range Kids

Swiss Cops Investigate 8-Year-Old Boy for Trying to Use Toy Money

The boy will have his name in police records until the year 2032.


An 8-year-old Swiss boy 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: It was a euro printed on plain paper decorated with blue Chinese characters. No doubt some day this may be a reality 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 is 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 currency in the northern Basel-Landschaft region, where this occurred. That area trades in Swiss francs.

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

In any event, the incident didn't end there. The 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 their mug shots taken.

Then their house was searched for more toy money.

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 boy will have his name in police records until the year 2032.

The Guardian reported 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.