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Naples restaurateur warns of counterfeit money used at his locations

Businesses want their customers back. They’ve been struggling since the pandemic began. A business owner in Southwest Florida is warning others about a crook who is targeting their comeback. Someone is passing off fake cash. The owner hopes this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Owner Todd Brooks of Brooks Burgers in Naples says a crook targeted his multiple business locations in the area, and he worries it could be happening at other places too. He says now is the time for all businesses to check their bills very closely.

“$100 goes a long way,” Brooks said. “It pays utilities and helps someone buy food for their family.”

During tough times, every little bit helps.

“We’re struggling like everyone else,” Brooks said. “It’s been eight months of how do we make it through this? And people are trying to take advantage of it. It’s unfortunate.”

Brooks told us, not once but twice Thursday, two $100 counterfeit bills were used at his restaurants. The first time took place at his downtown Naples restaurant, and the second was at his Vanderbilt Beach location.

“You know, we try to share with the other restaurants and let everyone know as soon as possible, so you don’t get stuck with it because, when you take a counterfeit bill, you don’t get the money back,” Brooks said.

Down the road, Rip Tide Brewing Company was not happy to hear this either.

“We get really excited when we do have business now, that it’s a letdown. People are not trustworthy,” said Claire Larson, with the brewing company.

They are thankful for the warning.

“I’m going to tell our bartenders to be extra vigilant and check as many bills as possible,” Larson said.

Todd Brooks tells us they reported both incidents at Brooks Burgers to law enforcement. They have surveillance video and are hoping it will help the investigation.

Naples Police Department says it’s investigating, and police haven’t heard of this happening anywhere else in the area at this time.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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