PINOLE -- Three suspected thieves were busted this week for a counterfeit money scam at a Pinole Toys 'R' Us store, police said.
Officers responded just after 7 p.m. Wednesday to the business at 1330 Fitzgerald Drive for a report of a fraud in progress, said Cmdr. Pete Janke.
A security officer at the store told police that a suspect was attempting to return merchandise that had been purchased using counterfeit money earlier in the evening at a San Rafael Toys "R" Us location, Janke said. The security officer recognized the suspect as someone who had made fraudulent purchases at the store using counterfeit money in the past.
Officers arrived and arrested the suspect was as he attempted to flee the store, Janke said. A vehicle associated with the suspect was stopped in the parking lot and two other suspects were arrested.
Police identified the suspects as Kashif Key, 26; Ronnie Harper, 23; and Antoine Simpson, 22.
One of the suspects was in possession of prepaid Visa Gift cards, some of which were determined to be fraudulently embedded, Jenke said.
"Further investigation revealed the three suspects were also linked to similar cases at Toys 'R' Us locations in Vallejo and San Rafael," Janke said. "It is likely the suspects engaged in similar fraud activity at other retail stores within the Bay Area."
Another nearby business in Pinole, the Big Five Sporting Goods store at 1572 Fitzgerald Drive, encountered a counterfeit
The report of the bill being passed led to the discovery of more bills, a printer and a stash of recently purchased goods.
Corbin was traveling with a friend, 48-year-old Scott Moulton, of Pasadena, who was arrested on an unrelated warrant, police said. Detectives said they believed the two men had been passing the counterfeit bills during their travels north from Southern California.
Anyone with information about either counterfeit scam is asked to call police at 510-724-8944.
Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.