City Wings Café, a new restaurant across from Peter Cooper Village, has a message for customers who’ve been attempting to pay for their food with counterfeit bills:
The fake buck stops here.
Will Hsu, the manager at City Wings, said that at least three different people (two men and one woman) have come in for the past three Sunday afternoons trying to pass off fake Benjamins as the real deal when purchasing small items like sodas. The phony customers have come in at especially busy times but still got caught since Hsu has to personally approve purchases made with large bills.
What’s caught his attention is that these bills look completely legit, passing the ink pen test. However, they flunk the smell test when the security line, a strip down the middle of new bills that’s supposed to be strong, has ripped easily each time.
When Hsu confronted the fraudsters, “they play dumb. ‘Oh, I’ll be back with another bill.’ They’re not coming back.”
And since the M.O. has remained completely the same, he believes the incidents are connected with a group of people involved. Hsu doesn’t remember much about how the suspects look, other than they are in their late 20s or early 30s, black and “very clean, legit, regular people. They order something small, like two sodas, something under five dollars.”
On Tuesday, Hsu put up a sign on City Wings’ door, warning would-be fraudsters that the next time a bill is suspected of being fake, police will be called. He also said it’s a heads-up for the other restaurants in the neighborhood.
Yves Jadot, one of the owners of the restaurants Petite Abeille and Vamos, which are across the street from City Wings on First Avenue, said he was not aware of anyone coming in recently attempting to pay with fake hundreds. Rather, it’s simply a problem his restaurants deal with from time to time. More often people will attempt to pay with fake twenties since it’s known employees check the hundreds.
“When someone buys a coffee with a hundred it’s a red flag,” said Jadot.