Three people are behind bars after police say they passed counterfeit $100 bills.
Michael S. Moncrieffe, 27, of Reading, along with Theresa H. Moore, 31, and Dacia A. Stewart, 34, both of Williamsport, were arrested by Logan Township police around 5:30 p.m. Thursday outside Martin's Grocery Store on Pleasant Valley Boulevard, according to police.
It all started at 3:51 p.m. when police were called to Barnes & Noble in Logan Town Center after a counterfeit $100 bill was passed at the bookseller. According to police, an employee of the store was suspicious of a $100 bill that Stewart allegedly tried to use, and when Stewart was told by the manager that the store couldn't accept it and was keeping it, Stewart said she had to retrieve a debit card from her car and fled.
Before Stewart left the store, employees got photos of her as well as the van she was traveling in, giving police a picture that officers then took to other Logan Town Center stores.
Police accuse Stewart of using a counterfeit $100 bill at Staples to buy a floral bag for $1.49 at 3:29 p.m., and Moore allegedly bought a $14.99 purse at Boscov's with a fake $100 bill at 3:36 p.m.
At 5:27 p.m., police received a call from Martin's and were told a woman matching Stewart's description was in the store and was trying to pass a bogus $100 bill. Employees attempted to stall Stewart until police arrived, and armed with a description and picture of the vehicle seen outside Barnes & Noble, officers were able to spot the trio's van in the grocery store's parking lot, police noted.
Police said Moncrieffe tried to drive away but was stopped by police in the parking lot. Moncrieffe allegedly reached toward the floor of the van as officer's approached the van, and once he was taken from the vehicle and detained, police allegedly found a bogus $100 bill on the driver's seat as well as "wads of money" in the driver's side door.
Police said they recovered five $100 bills and suspect more in the van, which has been impounded pending a search warrant to search the vehicle.
When questioned, Stewart and Moore allegedly told police they knew the money was fake and they were working for Moncrieffe, earning $200 to $300 for every 20 to 30 counterfeit bills they passed.
Police said the U.S. Secret Service was contacted and advised Logan Township police that the serial numbers match bills that have been duplicated at least a thousand times and used throughout the country.
Stewart and Moore were booked on felony forgery and conspiracy counts as well as misdemeanor theft and conspiracy charges. Moncrieffe faces felony forgery, criminal solicitation and conspiracy charges as well as misdemeanor conspiracy and theft counts.
Bail for Moncrieffe and Moore was set by Magisterial District Judge Craig Ormsby at $40,000 cash for each at their arraignment Friday morning. Stewart's bail was set at $50,000 cash.
All three were placed in Blair County Prison in lieu of bail with a preliminary hearing slated for Sept. 4 before Magisterial District Judge Steven Jackson.