Man arrested, cuffed after using $2 bills


A man trying to pay a fee using $2 bills was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail after clerks at a Best Buy store questioned the currency’s legitimacy and called police.

According to an account in the Baltimore Sun, 57-year-old Mike Bolesta was shocked to find himself taken to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, Md., where he was handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service was called to weigh in on the case.  

Bolesta told the Sun: “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.”

After Best Buy personnel reportedly told Bolesta he would not be charged for the installation of a stereo in his son’s car, he received a call from the store saying it was in fact charging him the fee. As a means of protest, Bolesta decided to pay the $114 bill using 57 crisp, new $2 bills.

As the owner of Capital City Student Tours, the Baltimore resident has a hearty supply of the uncommon currency. He often gives the bills to students who take his tours for meal money.

“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.’”

Bolesta explained what happened when he presented the bills to the cashier at Best Buy Feb. 20.

“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.”

Bolesta says the cashier marked each bill with a pen. Other store employees began to gather, a few of them asking, “Are these real?”

“Of course they are,” Bolesta said. “They’re legal tender.”

According to the Sun report, the police arrest report noted one employee noticed some smearing of ink on the bills. That’s when the cops were called. One officer reportedly noticed the bills ran in sequential order.

Said Bolesta: “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.’ 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 taken to the lockup, where he sat handcuffed to a pole and in leg irons while the Secret Service was called.

“At this point,” he says, “I’m a mass murderer.”

Secret Service agent Leigh Turner eventually arrived and declared the bills legitimate, adding, according to the police report, “Sometimes ink on money can smear.”

Commenting on the incident, Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Toohey told the Sun: “It’s a sign that we’re all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world.”

19 thoughts on “Man arrested, cuffed after using $2 bills

  1. I have always wondered why it is necessary to handcuff everyone regardless of the crime, yes a crazed knife wielding maniac I can see as potentially in need of some restraint but this man was accused of passing counterfeit, is he likely to just run amok killing all and sundry in his path?

    Most of Europe especially if you are calm and placid with the police will not need to handcuff or travel in the paddy wagon, is this a psychological thing or is there some historical story to it because at the point of handcuffing you are incarcarated and wonder if anyone has ever thought of challenging this on a human rights issue or false imprisonment?

    1. Because deep down they are chicken shit and need everyone to be in such a position that they can not defend themselves so they can feel all powerfull.

      1. Now here is a legal conundrum to think about, if this chap was a legal carrier of a firearm, after explaining to said old bill that he had done no wrong, there was no need to arrest and taking this along, the police officer wrongly tried to arrest him, pulled out gun as we know what happens next, if the police officer had killed said man or man had killed police officer who would legally be in the wrong here because the chap hasn’t broken any law therefore any attempt to arrest him surely then is a crime in itself and the supreme court did rule that any citizen can use force to defend themselves.

        See I come from the old school, if I am bang to rights, then fair play to the police for nabbing me but by god if I ain’t done nothing wrong, then I am going to resist, fight tooth and nail especially if it is something that can be verified there and then, coppers do not hesitate to protect themselves and that is no special twist of the law but the right of every man jack.

        I think one day soon this will be answered when police really do go to far and we will see another Rodney King.

  2. “At this point,” he says, “I’m a mass murderer.”

    Bahahahaha!! Typical cop pretending everyone in the world is so evil except him to promote his ego that he is god and the people are trash.

    Commenting on the incident, Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Toohey told the Sun: “It’s a sign that we’re all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world.”

    Bahahahaha!! Nervous? A little? Oh puhlease!!! That’s the best excuse you can come up with?

    Stopping promoting the lie and fear mongering. 9/11 happened over a decade ago. END IT!!!! It’s OVER!!! Move on! Pearl Harbor happened and we moved on. Stop using that as an excuse for everything involving your police state tactics. So take your preventative policing shit and shove it up your ass!

    And over $2 bills? That’s your biggest problem? Not the crazed murderers and thugs in Washington D.C. and Federal Reserve robbing us blind?


    1. Agree 100%
      To add to that. The clerks sounded like they have never heard of a $2 bill. “are they real?” “I cant take those” lol

      I carry a $2 bill in my wallet and there is one in the cash box at work. To have a dollar to your name is great but 2 is saying something. Also comes in handy during those ‘friendly’ bets of a dollar. I can double or nothing -OR- if I lose I can ask for change.
      I like having two imaginary things in my wallet.

  3. or we could all start paying for everything with $2 bills. Too bad the cash register drawers are not built to accommodate these.

  4. “It’s a sign that we’re all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world.”

    No, Toohey, It is a sign of the utter failure of the public school
    system. The stupid movie “Idiocracy” comes to mind.

  5. I was once towed for parking for 15 minutes at my apt while unloading some groceries and before I could get out there to move my car the towing company had my car hooked up. I had about $75 cash on me and would not accept a check for the remaining $50. So, the next morning I went to get my SUV out with only the change in my piggy bank. The lady at the towing company said she was not going to accept it and I told her she better get on the phone and get the police there before I did. She did and they and her manager made her accept all $125 in coins. It took her awhile to count it out.


    It’s only going to get worse as this dumbed-down culture continues to criminalize everything out of sheer ignorance. It’s too easy to dial 911 and engage the entire criminal justice system who’s job it is to arrest you first (because anyone with a brain is a threat to a cop) and ask questions later.

    If this guy really wants to make news, he should sue the Federal Reserve and treasury department for damages resulting from unfair and deceptive trade practices, perhaps product liability — producing a product that deceives the general public and causes real harm to those who use it.

  7. Ok, now I have heard everything!!! I will never shop at “Worst Buy” again!!! Police??? handcuffs??? Secret Service??? Are they INSANE??? They MUST be!!! What kind of society are we living in??? I have some news for these MORONS, 2 dollar bills were minted in the 1970’s and are LEGAL TENDER!!!! My God, did this IDIOT, low IQ, dumb as a rock clerk ever think to Google 2 dollar bills and discover they are REAL! In addition to that, you mean the STORE MANAGER didn’t even know that 2 dollar bills were LEGAL TENDER??? Was he or she even called??

    I have never EVER heard a story this ridiculous!! The only thing that comes close is a story that some 2nd grader was arrested for something at some school and that was also an INSANE act. I would value this lawsuit in the range of 2,000,000 dollars for starters; but they would settle for much less I am sure. This man was embarrassed, humiliated, inconvenienced, falsely arrested, reputation damaged, and traumatized!!!

    Anyway WHY would a counterfeiter try to manufacture measly 2 dollar bills anyway??? Can you all see how utterly INSANE this is??? I worked in retail for MANY years and I can tell you that 90% of the time, it was 20’s and 100’s that were counterfeited!! I would not let this go if I were this man! I would SUE all three of them Best Buy, the police department, and the Secret Service as well. This is very serious. I heard stories of how the Nazis started arresting civilians before WWII for every little thing at first before they took over completely!!!!

  8. -snip-
    Commenting on the incident, Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Toohey told the Sun: “It’s a sign that we’re all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world.”

    And a whole lot IGNORANT and STUPID.

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