LINCOLNTON, N.C. - Deputies said two men were arrested Tuesday in connection with a counterfeit money scheme in eastern Lincoln County.
Officials said they got a call about a man trying to use counterfeit money to buy products at the Advanced Auto Parts on North NC 16 Business.
The caller told the Lincoln County Communications Center that the man left the store in a gold vehicle and gave them the vehicle's license plate number.
On the way to to Advanced Auto Parts, a deputy said he spotted the suspect's vehicle at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and when he went inside, he saw a man talking to an employee. Another employee came from the back of the store and told the deputy that the man paid with a counterfeit $100 bill, but the bill passed a counterfeit pen test.
Customer Joyce Brown said she normally uses cash and she's concerned after hearing about the fake cash.
“I just hope and pray that I don’t get none,” Brown said.
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Deputies said the man accused of using the counterfeit bill walked out of the store and when the deputy tried to stop him, he jumped in the gold vehicle and took off.
The deputy followed the vehicle and deputies said before leaving the parking lot, the driver backed up toward the deputy's cruiser but ended up slamming into a curb.
Christopher Alexander Jones, 24, and Rashee Darzell Massey, 23, were both arrested.
After searching the vehicle, deputies said they found 1.5 grams of marijuana, digital scales and 27 counterfeit $100 bills, all with the same serial number.
Officials said bills with the same serial number are popping up across the area.
"It’s been documented as also being used in other counties in the area,” Capt. Matt Lykins with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said. “You’ll buy something small and you will receive actual legit cash in return.”
They also found a bag from O’Reilly’s Auto Parts containing a receipt with a purchase made with a $100 bill and a bag from Publix for a purchase made with a $100 bill.
Jones was charged with one felony count of possession of more than five counterfeit instruments, two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, one felony count of attempting to obtain property by false pretenses and one felony count of conspiracy, misdemeanor possession of marijuana and resisting, delaying and obstructing a public officer.
Massey was charged with one felony count each of possession of more than five counterfeit instruments and conspiracy.
Deputies said they aren't sure if the suspects are getting the fake cash from someone or making it themselves.
If you come across a $100 bill with the serial number G-15767642-A, don’t try to spend it because you could get arrested.
Instead, take it to a local law enforcement agency or the bank.
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