On November 8, 2022 Detective Purtell was in the area of the Jackson Premium Outlets following up on an unrelated investigation while also working a plain clothed detail to combat the rise in shoplifting that the outlets are experiencing.
A detective was advised by police dispatch that several stores within the outlet mall called to report two males attempting to pass counterfeit US currency. After canvassing the area, Det. Purtell was able to locate one of the suspects with the assistance of the description forwarded by dispatch.
While approaching the male suspect, said suspect became aware of his presence. Det. Purtell displayed his badge and identified himself as a Jackson Police Officer. The suspect froze and became hesitant to which Det. Purtell again identified himself and advised him that he needed to speak with him.
It was at this time the suspect dropped the bags he was carrying and began running away from Det. Purtell. A foot pursuit ensued and Det. Purtell kept ordering the suspect to stop.
While pursuing the suspect, he was observed reaching into his pockets and pulling out several bills that appeared to be US currency. The suspect was observed ripping up the bills and throwing them to the ground during the pursuit. It appeared to Det. Purtell that the suspect was attempting to destroy evidence and distance himself from the counterfeit US currency.
After pursuing the suspect for approximately one quarter of a mile through the parking lot area, Det. Purtell was able to corner the suspect in a location that he would not be able to escape. The suspect was taken into custody without incident.
During the search of his person, Det. Purtell recovered several one-hundred dollar bills. Det. Purtell was able to immediately determine that the bills were counterfeit as well due to their texture and color upon inspection. All of the bills also possessed the same serial number. Said bills were confirmed to be counterfeit during the course of the investigation once at headquarters.
In total, the suspect had in his possession just over $1000 in counterfeit bills, some which was utilized to make fraudulent purchases.
Jeremy Hardy, age 26 of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was charged with the following:
• (5) Five counts of Possession of Counterfeit Bills
• Destruction of Evidence
• Hindering Apprehension
Hardy was subsequently lodged at Ocean County Jail in lieu of his charges. Secret Service was also advised of the counterfeiting incident. The second suspect was never located or identified.