Four East Bay women with a carload of counterfeit $100 travelers cheques made an elaborate but ultimately failed attempt to cash them in local stores while trying to purchase low-cost items on Thursday, Oct. 24.
The women, working as a team, attempted to cash the cheques at the Rite Aid store in Maxwell Village shopping center, and at the Staples office supply store on West Napa Street.
But the group, three of whom descended en masse on each store and picked out cheap items to buy while proffering the bogus American Express cheques, might just as well have worn T-shirts proclaiming, “We’re here to steal from you,” because employees of both stores were instantly suspicious and called police.
The caper started around 4:20 p.m. at the Rite Aid store when the trio walked in and first tried to use credit cards to purchase minor items, but in each case the cards were declined. At least one of them tried to buy a pack of cigarettes with one of the fraudulent travelers cheques, but the clerk refused to take it and a store employee immediately called police, alerting them to look for the burgundy Cadillac in which the women had driven off.
The group next tried their luck at the Staples store, where one woman attempted to buy $10.88 worth of pens and a calculator with one of the cheques, and another woman offered a bad cheque for a $7.50 pack of toilet paper. A clerk told the t.p. purchaser that a minimum purchase of $20 was required before she could make change, whereupon the suspect plucked a printer cartridge off the counter without even looking at it and asked, “How’s this?”