Suspect With Fake Money Flees Chili's, Hides in Bushes

MURRIETA, Calif. -- A man who allegedly tried to pay for a restaurant takeout order with a $100 bill was in custody, accused of trying to pass counterfeit money, authorities said Monday.

Andrew Donald Van Dam, 37, allegedly used a counterfeit bill at Chili's in the 41000 block of California Oaks Road about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Murrieta police Sgt. James Gruwell.

Restaurant employees became suspicious of the money and called authorities.

When police arrived, Van Dam ran across Interstate 15 and hid in bushes, where officers found him, Gruwell said.

Officers recovered a second counterfeit $100 bill hidden in a drain basin near the suspect's hiding place, Gruwell said.

Van Dam was booked into the Southwest Detention Center on suspicion of burglary, possession of counterfeit currency and passing counterfeit currency, sheriff's jail records indicate. Arraignment is set for Thursday at the Southwest Justice Center.

The arrest was the third counterfeiting-related case in southwest Riverside County in two weeks. The earlier arrests were made in Murrieta and Hemet. It's unclear if the cases are connected.

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