MANATEE COUNTY – Several area businesses have been presented with counterfeit $50 and $100 bills in recent weeks.
On Friday, Aug. 23, a counterfeit $50 bill was taken as payment at the Pig Out BBQ and Southern Soul Food restaurant in Bradenton on Manatee Avenue.
Manager Nora Davis reported the counterfeit money to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the following day she posted a photograph of the counterfeit bill on Facebook.
On Thursday, Aug. 22, counterfeit bills were presented for payment at Tide Tables and the Cortez Kitchen in Cortez.
Tide Tables’ bartender Staci Wilkinson said someone called in an inexpensive to-go order and when a man came in to pay for the food the employee on duty determined the money was counterfeit and refused to take it.
“We started messaging everybody at the other restaurants and they tried it again at the Cortez Kitchen,” Wilkinson said.
Surveillance photos of the man who tried to pass the counterfeit bill were quickly posted at the Tide Tables’ Facebook page. That post also included photos of the white Chevy pickup truck the man left in, which is believed to have been driven by a female accomplice.
Less than an hour later, the same man entered the Cortez Kitchen to pick up a fudge sundae to go. He presented bartender/manager Ryan Young with a $50 bill. Aware of what happened earlier at Tide Tables, Young took the bill and stepped into the backroom to consult with someone else about the bill’s validity.
The suspect then decided to leave and Young managed to get the truck’s license plate number before it pulled out of the parking lot. The license plate number and the counterfeit bill were given to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. A photograph of the counterfeit bill was also posted on Facebook.
Two weeks ago, a counterfeit $100 bill was received at the FishHole miniature golf course in Bradenton Beach.
FishHole owner Jake Spooner later presented the Bradenton Beach Police Department with surveillance photographs of the man he believes presented the $100 bill to one of his employees. Spooner said the suspect shown on his surveillance camera appears to be a different person than the suspect shown on the Tide Tables’ surveillance camera.
Regarding the counterfeit bill his business received, Spooner said its looked to him like the counterfeiter bleached a $10 bill and then printed a $100 bill on the bleached paper.
“On the far-right side of the front of the bill you can see the watermark is Alexander Hamilton’s face, and the ribbon says U.S.A. 10,” Spooner said.