It was like the holiday shopping season in early June.
A pair of women entered a Walmart store in Westminster racking up a $1,900 bill on large screen TVs, computers, a pair of Xbox 360 game consoles and other electronics.
They paid for it with $50 bills that were as phony as the paper they were printed on.
"People do anything these days. It doesn't surprise me," said Elijah Brown, of Westminster, in the store’s parking lot.
The very same day, the same women, entered yet another Walmart in Hampstead buying up another $1,600 worth of goods with the bogus bills.
According to charging documents, they then drove to other Walmart stores in Owings Mills and Randallstown to return some of the goods for real cash.
Investigators alerted other locations to be on the lookout for the scammers, and when they showed up to return more goods, they were busted.
"People are so desperate these days, they'll try anything," said Brown.
Police later learned that Ashley Purnell is also wanted for similar scams on a fugitive warrant in Pennsylvania, while her alleged accomplice Demetriss Howard is homeless, as is their getaway driver Danielle Russell. But "desperate" hardly describes women that were using a high-end Range Rover to cart around their loot.
Other shoppers are mindful that they end up paying for such thefts.
"Consumer crimes like that---I think they really ought to throw the book at them," said business owner Dave Freeland of Taneytown.
And it appears the stakes will go up for the suspects.
While they were arrested in Baltimore County and charged in Carroll County, Maryland State Police say the Secret Service is now taking over the investigation, which means federal charges could be forthcoming.