(WHAS11) -- Police say counterfeit cash and stolen credit cards were used to swindle local merchants out of thousands during the chaos of Black Friday.
The crowds and confusion that bring cash to merchants during the holidays can attract something else.... crooks.
“They know the stores are swamped this time of year,” said Jeffersontown Police Maj. Kenneth Hatmaker. “Large crowds provide a lot of cover for them.”
Police say two members of a counterfeit cash and stolen credit card ring were caught stealing from a Jeffersontown Wal-Mart Market on Black Friday.
Alexia Talet-Lebrada and Jorge Aldana-Oduardo were arrested after police say they used stolen credit card numbers to buy gift cards from the store.
“Obviously these two weren't working alone, because simultaneously at the Wal-Mart neighborhood grocery in St. Matthews, the same thing was going on,” said Hatmaker.
A total of 33 gift cards, most valued at $200, were seized from the two men, who also had $750 in counterfeit $50 bills on them at the time of their arrests.
Police say the ring was based out of Houston, Texas, where credit card numbers were stolen from a movie theater database.
Security Services Federal Credit Union alerted Jeffersontown Police when the suspects tried to pass one of the cards here.
Police believe the suspects also used the money to buy gift cards, since it was less likely to be scrutinized amidst heavy holiday shopping crowds.
Jason Britt of Louisville says he got a counterfeit $100 bill at a local Wal-Mart the store this weekend when he cashed his pay check.
“They just put it on the counter and I didn't think to look at it, because I've never seen a counterfeit bill before. So I just took it, went on about my business. Today was the first day I tried to use it and the lady told me it was counterfeit,” Britt said.
Britt is now trying to get the issue resolved with the store manager.
“I just want to let everyone know that it's the holidays and everything and I just want to make everyone aware that this situation can happen to anybody,” he said.
In the meantime, the U.S. Secret Service is investigating the stolen credit card and cash operation to try to determine how many merchants may have been targeted.