JACKSON — While working a plain-clothed detail to combat the rise of shoplifting that the outlets are experiencing, a township police detective was advised by dispatch that several stores within the Jackson Premium Outlets called to report two men attempting to pass counterfeit U.S. currency.

According to the Jackson police’s Facebook page, on Tuesday, Nov. 8, Detective Stephen Purtell was canvassing the area and found one of the suspects.

When Purtell approached him, the detective identified himself as a Jackson police officer. The suspect froze and became hesitant. Again, the detective identified himself and told the suspect he needed to speak to him.

The suspect then dropped the bags he was carrying and began running away, police stated. A foot pursuit ensued and the detective kept ordering the suspect to stop.

Police said that while he was running, the suspect reached into his pockets, pulled out several bills, ripped them up, and threw them on the ground.

It appeared to the detective that the suspect was trying to destroy evidence and rid himself of the fake money, according to police.

The pursuit ended about a quarter of a mile through the parking lot area where the detective was able to corner the suspect. The man, identified as 26-year-old Jeremy Hardy of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was taken into custody.

During a search of the suspect, the detective recovered several counterfeit one-hundred dollar bills, according to police. Purtell reported finding just over $1000 in counterfeit bills in Hardy's possession, some of which were used to make purchases.

Hardy was charged with five counts of possession of counterfeit bills, destruction of evidence, obstruction, and hindering apprehension.

He is lodged in the Ocean County jail.

The second suspect has not been identified or found.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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