UNIONDALE - Three Uniondale High School students were arrested Tuesday after allegedly passing around counterfeit $20 bills.

Police say Melvin Pineda, Teisean Kemp and Kquamel Jones gave the fake money to fellow students on March 11.

Detectives say their investigation began back in February when two of the fake $20 bills were given to a teacher to pay for a pizza party.

The teacher became suspicious and alerted police.

Earlier this month, police say two of the boys were seen exchanging what appeared to be counterfeit bills.  On Sunday, investigators say Pineda, 17, went into BJ's in Levittown to buy a box of cereal and gave the cashier 15 counterfeit $20 bills.

According to Detective Sgt. Richard Harasym, he asked for real money back in exchange.

"The reason she was so naïve to this was because this boy happened to work at the store at one point so she recognized him," said Harasym.

Police say the boys had more than 25 counterfeit bills on them when they were arrested inside the school Tuesday.

Authorities say it is still unclear where the bills originated from. All three teens were charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument.

The Uniondale superintendent says they are cooperating with the investigation and that the students have been suspended.