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Date of Issue: March 05, 2008

Police seek 'customer' for counterfeit checks

Island business owners are being put on the lookout for a wanted customer — a man who has passed fake checks at Manatee and Sarasota county restaurants.

One such restaurant was in Holmes Beach, though no police report was filed.

A man walked into the restaurant, ordered about $1,800 in take-out food for an event and presented a check for $2,000. He left with the $200 in change, but when the restaurant attempted to contact him regarding questions about the order, the phone number proved false, according to HBPD. So did the check.

The suspect is described as about 40-50 years old, medium build and balding. In surveillance photographs provided by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the man is seen wearing a short sleeve, light-colored shirt, light-colored shorts and sunglasses.

SCSO reports that in several instances the man entered sandwich shops and placed large catering orders as a representative of Aflac Insurance.

The man presented what turned out to be counterfeit cashier’s checks from the Bank of America to pay for the food.

The scam, according to SCSO, comes not with the theft of food but rather the change the suspect pockets after presenting the checks. In one case on the mainland, the bill came to $1,823.21 so the suspect left with about $176, the change from a $2,000 counterfeit check. In another case, the man ordered about $1,719 plus offered a $100 tip, leaving with $181 in change from another $2,000 check.

People with any information about the incidents or the suspect are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 941-366-8477.