BETHLEHEM — A Bethlehem resident went on Craigslist last month to sell an item, and received payment in several hundred dollars’ worth of counterfeit bills, according to a statement from the Bethlehem Police Department.
Following an investigation, Guilderland resident Adam N. Ruf, 29, was arrested and charged in the case.
Police opened an investigation Nov. 20. Working in conjunction with the United States Secret Service, the sale of another item was arranged through the same buyer, on Dec. 3.
“The suspect showed up for the meeting and agreed to purchase the item and once again turned over several hundred dollars in counterfeit United States currency to the undercover police officer conducting the transaction,” according to the police statement.
When police tried to arrest the buyer, he attempted to flee, police said.
“As police attempted to arrest the suspect he fled in his vehicle and drove towards police, almost striking a U.S. Secret Service Agent with his vehicle,” according to the statement.
The driver tried to flee the scene, and police began a vehicle pursuit that went through Bethlehem, Albany and Rensselaer, but law enforcement eventually called off the chase.
“Police terminated the pursuit in Rensselaer due to the reckless nature of the suspect’s driving,” according to the statement.
Several hours later, Ruf and the vehicle were located by Bethlehem Police at a residence in Guilderland, police said. He was taken into custody without incident and the vehicle was impounded.
Ruf has been charged in connection with both incidents — the original purchase in November, and the later one Dec. 3. He faces a total of 59 counts of felony criminal possession of a forged instrument in the first degree, felony counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree scheme to defraud. He was also charged with misdemeanor counts of unlawfully fleeing a police officer, reckless driving, and numerous vehicle and traffic violations.
Ruf was arraigned in the Town of Bethlehem Court and remanded to the Albany County Jail without bail.
Bethlehem Police and the U.S. Secret Service were assisted in the investigation by Guilderland Police and the Capital Region Crime Analysis Center.
If you are looking to make transactions over the Internet, Bethlehem Police advise taking the following precautions:
• Always meet in a well-lit, populated area
• Obtain as much information about the person you are dealing with as possible
• Bring another person with you as a witness
• Keep track of license plates, phone numbers and email addresses that people use in the transactions
• Use a counterfeit currency detection pen as one method to review the money
Anyone with further information in regards to this case, or who may have been a victim of a similar incident, is asked to contact Bethlehem Police at 518-439-9973.