He tried to pull off a scam but a quick-thinking bartender busted him. Police said the Key West man is accused of resorting to grave threats after being exposed. He is said to have threatened to slit the throat of the bartender and her young son in January.
The man has been identified as Charles Altman, 36, and was arrested on April 20 for felony aggravated stalking after police said he tried to sweet talk the bartender into allowing him to use a gift card at a Duval Street bar, even offering her a $100 tip if she’d give him some cash back in return. The bartender rejected the idea.
The scam is a common one. First, a scammer posing as a legitimate customer brings in a gift card, which the bar’s system can’t read to check the amount on it, and offers to add $100 tip if the server agrees and goes ahead to process the charging of the customer’s food and drinks to the card. The catch is customer will demand the bartender to split equally between the two of them the $100 tip.
The problem is by the time the card is completely processed, the charges bounce back like a bad check.
The bartender was able to see through what Altman was trying to do. She also took to social media, Facebook in particular, to warn others of such a scam.
The Facebook post proved to be quite helpful to the public as it might have prevented Altman from scamming another bar employee just located down the street,
A furious, busted Altman called the bartender and right there and then threatened her and her son. What was scary for the mother was the fact that Altman knows about her child’s first name.
The threats did not stop there as Altman called back, telling her he was watching her and was going “to get her.” He also said he would drive by the bar on Duval Street in a white Mercedes. Later, she saw a white Mercedes drove past the bar multiple times.
After she was finished with her work at the bar, and shortly after closing shop, the victim went to her pickup to return home, and saw that a man in a hood rode by on a bicycle and took a photo of the license plate. The bartender also said that she has since seen a similar bicycle in her parents‘ neighborhood.