Caught on cam: Thief uses counterfeit bill at ice cream shop, steals the tips

A downtown Fort Myers ice cream shop was robbed of its tips – and that’s not all.

The manager of Scoops on First hopes that sharing the surveillance footage of the thief will help catch him. She also wants to warn other businesses to secure their tips and be on the lookout for fake bills.

“It hurts, it hurts. It definitely hurts, especially in these unpredicted times that we’re dealing with,” said manager Tricia Davis.

She said she was cleaning tables outside Tuesday afternoon when a young man and a young woman came into the shop. The man helped himself to the tip jar – and it was caught on video.

“Apparently he had already taken my tips at that point, I had no idea.”

Then the pair ordered.

“He said he’d like two strawberry sundaes, which were a little odd for me.”

He handed over a $100 bill.

“I checked everything and I put it in the drawer and I started counting my change to give him and I’m like something’s not adding up. I’m like it doesn’t look right, so I checked it again. It had the line, it had the watermark.”

Davis called Fort Myers police after noticing her tips were missing and the thief was caught on camera. Investigators told her the cash he handed her was actually a $1 bill bleached to look like a $100 bill.

“Mad, mad. I knew I should have went with my gut. I knew the signs were there, but like I said, I had a line out the door,” Davis said.

She now wants other businesses to not only get a good look at the guy in the video, but also be careful of the cash a customer hands over.

“Check your bills, not once, twice, three times.”

Davis said the crooks got away with $88, plus whatever was in the tip jar. The shop no longer accepts $50 or $100 bills, and they’ve secured their tip jar a little better.

If you recognize the people in the video, you can message Scoops on First via Facebook or call FMPD at 239-321-7700.

Reporter:Taylor Petras
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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