Brookfield Zoo police investigating two instances of counterfeit $10 bills being passed on the same day last week ended up identifying the source of the phony bills as a woman working at a North Gate admission kiosk.

The employee, Daiesha L. Smith, 19, of Chicago, was turned over to Riverside police who charged her with one felony count of forgery and a misdemeanor count of theft. At a bond hearing Monday morning, a Cook County judge freed her on her own recognizance.

Zoo officials caught wind of the counterfeit bills about 2 p.m. Aug. 1, when a guest told a supervisor that she paid for her $52 admission with a $100 bill and was handed two $10 bills that appeared phony. They both had the same serial number, for starters.

The cashier who handed the bills to the woman was Smith, who exchanged them for other bills when the customer questioned the bills.

Just before 4 p.m., however, zoo police got a call from the manager of the Safari Grill restaurant, who said a customer had just passed a fake $10 bill. The man who passed the bill told police he received the bill as change from a North Gate cashier who took his admission fee.

Police reported that the bill had the same serial number as the two others. An admissions receipt from the man also identified the cashier – Smith.

Zoo police questioned Smith, who reportedly told them she found eight $10 bills on the floor of the North Gate women’s bathroom. She then allegedly placed the $10 bills in the till, taking out four $20 bills for herself. Zoo police reported finding four $20 bills inside Smith’s purse.

Police at the zoo were able to recover six of the eight phony bills – all bearing the same serial number – and turned Smith over to Riverside police for processing.