Cops: Robbers caught with counterfeit money

NORCROSS -- Police have linked two teens caught with counterfeit cash and drugs this week to an armed robbery and attempted shooting on the eve of Thanksgiving, authorities said.

Tuesday night, a patrol officer stopped a vehicle described by witnesses in a Nov. 25 armed robbery at an apartment complex off South Norcross-Tucker Road.

Officers found marijuana and several faux $50 bills inside the vehicle and arrested all three occupants, said Gwinnett police spokesman Officer Brian Kelly.

Detectives established probable cause for the armed robbery arrests based on subsequent interviews, Kelly said.

Police booked two suspects -- Angel Bernal, 19, of Norcross, and Benjamin Jimenez, 17, of Lawrenceville -- on charges of armed robbery, drug possession and second-degree forgery.

A third person in the vehicle, Dulce Arroyo, 17, of Lawrenceville, was arrested on the lesser charges. Police don't believe she was involved in the stick-up.

The robbery victim told police he was walking through the apartment complex when two people robbed him with a pump-action shotgun, attempting to fire the gun twice before fleeing with his wallet and cell phone, Kelly said.

"The weapon malfunctioned both times," he said.

At the scene, police found two "live" shotgun shells apparently ejected from the assailants' gun. A widespread "lookout" for the vehicle was sent to area law enforcement, Kelly said.

A third robbery suspect, who was not in the vehicle during Tuesday night's stop, was arrested Wednesday night at a residence at 1090 Henry Terrace.

According to police, Ivan Jimenez, 17, refused to exit the residence for officers attempting to serve an arrest warrant, prompting them to call in the SWAT team.

Jimenez surrendered peacefully, however, after about 45 minutes of negotiations, police said.