Florida Keys

He tried to scam a bartender. When she busted him, he threatened to slit her throat, cops say.

Altman
Altman

A Key West man is accused of threatening to slit the throat of a bartender and her young son in January after he tried to pull a scam, police said.

Charles Altman, 36, was arrested April 20 for felony aggravated stalking after police said he tried to use a gift card at a Duval Street bar, promising her a $100 tip if she'd give him some cash back.

She refused and Tuesday explained that the scam is a common one: A person brings in a gift card, which the bar's system can't read to check the amount on it, and offers to add a $100 tip if the server goes ahead and charges his food and drink. The catch is the card bearer splits the $100.

By the time the card is processed, the charges bounce back like a bad check.

Altman allegedly retaliated when the bartender later posted about him on Facebook to warn other servers of the scam.

The Facebook post prevented Altman from scamming another bar employee down the street, the bartender told police.

The woman asked that her name not be used and said she has a restraining order on Altman.

Altman that night called the bartender and threatened her and her son, mentioning him by his first name, according to the arrest report.

Altman called back, telling her he was watching her and was going to "get her," and said he would drive by the bar on Duval Street in a white Mercedes, she told officers. Later, a white Mercedes drove past the bar several times.

After she closed up the bar, as she was walking to the pickup she was taking home, a man in a hood rode by on a bicycle and took a photo of the license plate, police said. She also said she saw a similar bike in her parents' neighborhood later.

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