Baltimore County Cops - dumb as rocks

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by TGregg, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. TGregg


    From,1,76004.column?coll=bal-local-columnists which no longer works:

    A tale of customer service, justice and currency as funny as a $2 bill
    Michael Olesker

    March 8, 2005

    PUT YOURSELF in Mike Bolesta's place. On the morning of Feb. 20, he buys a new radio-CD player for his 17-year-old son Christopher's car. He pays the $114 installation charge with 57 crisp new $2 bills, which, when last observed, were still considered legitimate currency in the United States proper. The $2 bills are Bolesta's idea of payment, and his little comic protest, too.

    For this, Bolesta, Baltimore County resident, innocent citizen, owner of Capital City Student Tours, finds himself under arrest.

    Finds himself, in front of a store full of customers at the Best Buy on York Road in Lutherville, locked into handcuffs and leg irons.

    Finds himself transported to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, where he's handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service is called into the case.

    Have a nice day, Mike.

    "Humiliating," the 57-year old Bolesta was saying now. "I am 6 feet 5 inches tall, and I felt like 8 inches high. To be handcuffed, to have all those people looking on, to be cuffed to a pole -- and to know you haven't done anything wrong. And me, with a brother, Joe, who spent 33 years on the city police force. It was humiliating."

    What we have here, besides humiliation, is a sense of caution resulting in screw-ups all around.

    "When I bought the stereo player," Bolesta explains, "the technician said it'd fit perfectly into my son's dashboard. But it didn't. So they called back and said they had another model that would fit perfectly, and it was cheaper. We got a $67 refund, which was fine. As long as it fit, that's all.

    "So we go back and pay for it, and they tell us to go around front with our receipt and pick up the difference in the cost. I ask about installation charges. They said, 'No installation charge, because of the mix-up. Our mistake, no charge.' Swell.

    "But then, the next day, I get a call at home. They're telling me, 'If you don't come in and pay the installation fee, we're calling the police.' Jeez, where did we go from them admitting a mistake to suddenly calling the police? So I say, 'Fine, I'll be in tomorrow.' But, overnight, I'm starting to steam a little. It's not the money -- it's the threat. So I thought, I'll count out a few $2 bills."

    He has lots and lots of them.

    With his Capital City Student Tours, he arranges class trips for school kids around the country traveling to large East Coast cities, including Baltimore. He's been doing this for the last 18 years. He makes all the arrangements: hotels, meals, entertainment. And it's part of his schtick that, when Bolesta hands out meal money to students, he does it in $2 bills, which he picks up from his regular bank, Sun Trust.

    "The kids don't see that many $2 bills, so they think this is the greatest thing in the world," Bolesta says. "They don't want to spend 'em. They want to save 'em. I've been doing this since I started the company. So I'm thinking, 'I'll stage my little comic protest. I'll pay the $114 with $2 bills.'"

    At Best Buy, they may have perceived the protest -- but did not sense the comic aspect of 57 $2 bills.

    "I'm just here to pay the bill," Bolesta says he told a cashier. "She looked at the $2 bills and told me, 'I don't have to take these if I don't want to.' I said, 'If you don't, I'm leaving. I've tried to pay my bill twice. You don't want these bills, you can sue me.' So she took the money. Like she's doing me a favor."

    He remembers the cashier marking each bill with a pen. Then other store personnel began to gather, a few of them asking, "Are these real?"

    "Of course they are," Bolesta said. "They're legal tender."

    A Best Buy manager refused comment last week. But, according to a Baltimore County police arrest report, suspicions were roused when an employee noticed some smearing of ink. So the cops were called in. One officer noticed the bills ran in sequential order.

    "I told them, 'I'm a tour operator. I've got thousands of these bills. I get them from my bank. You got a problem, call the bank,'" Bolesta says. "I'm sitting there in a chair. The store's full of people watching this. All of a sudden, he's standing me up and handcuffing me behind my back, telling me, 'We have to do this until we get it straightened out.'

    "Meanwhile, everybody's looking at me. I've lived here 18 years. I'm hoping my kids don't walk in and see this. And I'm saying, 'I can't believe you're doing this. I'm paying with legal American money.'"

    Bolesta was then taken to the county police lockup in Cockeysville, where he sat handcuffed to a pole and in leg irons while the Secret Service was called in.

    "At this point," he says, "I'm a mass murderer."

    Finally, Secret Service agent Leigh Turner arrived, examined the bills and said they were legitimate, adding, according to the police report, "Sometimes ink on money can smear."

    This will be important news to all concerned.

    For Baltimore County police, said spokesman Bill Toohey, "It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."

    The other day, one of Bolesta's sons needed a few bucks. Bolesta pulled out his wallet and "whipped out a couple of $2 bills. But my son turned away. He said he doesn't want 'em any more."

    He's seen where such money can lead.
  2. I'd like to see that on 20 20 or dateline. best buy and those cops deserve the pillory. there aren't enough frustrations with this economy.
  3. Sad sad SAD.
  4. aegis


    Umm, huh?

    WTF does any of this have to do with "a post-9/11" world?

    Never met a smart cop.
  5. When my mother went to europe, she bought the old fashioned large american dollar bills over there for a quarter a piece because they thought that they were worthless.

    I've still got some. :D

  6. Pull up the truck.
  7. TGregg


    I loved the part about the sequential serial numbers making them suspicious. Like a counterfeiter would take the time and effort to make unique numbers for every bill - then not make them more or less random.


    Counterfeit $2 bills. LOL.

    You guys in Baltimore should look through your change for some fake nickels, too. :D :D :D
  8. In the mid-'70s, I was in Baltimore one summer, attending a karate competition with several members from my karate school. I was in my mid-teens at the time. A couple of us were in a convenience store and a cop walked in. If memory serves, he had a wide brim hat, but I could be mistaken. He apparently knew the proprietor and seemed friendly enough. He and the shopkeeper went into the back while the shopkeeper's wife attended to us. Suddenly we heard a loud bang from somewhere in the back, presumably the storage area. The two guys came back and it turns out the police officer was showing his friend a quick draw maneuver and his gun went off. Really. A cop. We were asked to keep it hush-hush. It all seemed funny at the time, but rather less so in retrospect. As some of you may know, I'm not a big fan of private gun ownership.
  9. OMG this is the funniest thing ever who in their right mind would counterfeit a bunch of 2 dollar bills, then use 57 of them at once, then use them to install a stereo where im assuming they have his license plate number as well as address, i cant believe people this stupid are allowed to carry a gun.
  10. So I'm thinking, 'I'll stage my little comic protest. I'll pay the $114 with $2 bills.'"

    Best Buy, the cops, and a few other people enjoyed the comedy.

    Everybody wants to teach everyone else a lesson.

    Imo, save it, quit trying to teach everyone a lesson. Friggin hippie passing out two dollar bills to his students.
    #10     Aug 13, 2009