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Rip-Off Alert: Fake $100 bill scams bake sale, dream trip to Disneyland

Police say Michelle Marie Kruse scammed high school band students out of their bake sale money on July 10 outside of a market in Cotati, Calif. (KSNV)

A woman using a counterfeit $100 rips off a student bake sale in northern California. The teens were trying to raise money for a special trip.

Police say Michelle Marie Kruse scammed high school band students out of their bake sale money on July 10 outside of a market in Cotati, Calif.

"We were all really upset,” said band member Evan Crow. “I was in tears. All of us were, like, 'Oh my God this woman took advantage of us.’ ”

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Officers say Kruse, who remains at large, used a fake $100 bill to get a Rice Krispies treat, brownie and piece of cake. She gave the students the fake bill and they gave her $80 of real money in change.

The money would have gone toward their music program at Rancho Cotate High School in Rohnert Park.

"The bake sales, the students did on their own,” said band director Timothy Decker. “They called Oliver's, they set up the time. They baked, they organized it. Their parents came out.

“This is something they really wanted to do to help the music program on their own."

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Surveillance video captured Kruse walking around inside Oliver's Market before she left her cart, left the store, and eventually made her way to the bake sale.

Students say they have been trying to save money for their special yearly trip to Disneyland.

"Never really happened with any of our fund raisers, and it happened to happen to us this year when we are trying to get money to go to Disneyland and march down Main Street," said one student.

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Crow was the one who noticed that the bill was fake. He chased after Kruse's car but was unsuccessful in catching her.

"Pretty sure she saw us out of the back of her mirrors and she just pulled out really fast and sped away and almost hit a couple cars on her way out," Crow said.

While police search for the suspect, there's a lesson they want to pass along. If you're ever involved in a transaction like this, double check the money is legitimate.

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