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Rite Aid clerk helps police nab three suspects charged with using fake cash, cards, IDs

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RENSSELAER, NY (WRGB) A teen and two adult suspects from downstate New York are in custody tonight after taking police on a chase in Rensselaer.

Police believe they've been spending counterfeit cash at businesses across our area.

The trio was caught on Columbia Street just before the East Greenbush town line yesterday afternoon. Now the secret service is investigating.

“It’s definitely something that’s been going on for a long time,” said Rensselaer Detective Scott Earing

If it hadn't been for an observant clerk at the Columbia Street Rite Aid pharmacy, police say the suspects may have gotten away with using phony cash, again.

They were attempting to buy merchandise with several hundred dollar bills that were all counterfeit,” Earing said.

When employees tipped off investigators Tuesday, police say the trio hit the gas, but this time they didn’t’ get far.

“They tried to loop through some parking lots and through a couple back streets, and eventually turned back onto Columbia Turnpike,” Earing said.

Rensselaer Detective Scott Earing says the suspects gave up, stopping the car, after a short police chase. Earing says 18-year-old Jahquel Giddeons and 22-year-old Ryan Michel from Brooklyn and 22-year-old Tatiana Baptiste from Queens have been working their scheme here for some time.

“We know that they've been involved in other stores in this area in the last couple of months,” Earing said.

Earing says they'd been targeting chain and big box stores, usually purchasing gift cards or merchandise that could be exchanged for cash with their funny money.

“I know a lot of stores check big bills, but a lot of stores don’t and this is how this is able to go on,” Earing said.

Detective Earing says Colonie Police are investigating to find out whether the suspects were involved in counterfeit cases in the town. The Secret Service is also involved, looking to track down just how far the fake cash has gone.

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