SALISBURY – A Rowley woman and her boyfriend face larceny and counterfeit note charges after police say they brought her daughter to Family Restaurant for lunch in mid-January and paid the bill using fake money.
Savahanna Dealmeida, 25, of Depot Way and Jonathon Smith, 28, of Newburyport Turnpike, Rowley, were arraigned Wednesday in Newburyport District Court on charges of uttering (passing) a counterfeit note, possessing a counterfeit note and larceny under $1,200.
Both were released with bail warnings and ordered to return to court March 10 for pretrial hearings. A bail warning means if they are charged with any new offenses while awaiting trial, they could be jailed.
A manager at the high-volume Chinese food restaurant on Elm Street told police that on Jan. 18 about 2:45 p.m., he had two counterfeit $50 bills used by a young couple to pay for lunch a little earlier, according to a police report.
He also had video of Dealmeida and her daughter leaving the restaurant and driving a red Honda sedan to the front entrance. There, Smith hurriedly got into the car, the door remaining open as Dealmeida pulled away.
Salisbury police Officer Craig Goodrich was able to identify Dealmeida by running the Honda’s license plate number through his computer and coming up with her driver’s license photo. The photo matched video footage of Dealmeida. Goodrich drove to her Depot Way home, along with a Rowley police officer, but she was not home.
By this time, Goodrich had learned that Ipswich police were also interested in speaking to Dealmeida and Smith after they allegedly passed fake money at a Dunkin’s location in Ipswich, according to Goodrich’s report.
While driving on Route 1 to Salisbury, Goodrich saw the Honda drive past him in the opposite direction. A few minutes later, a Rowley police officer pulled over the Honda close to Depot Way. Goodrich turned back and drove to the traffic stop. Dealmeida was in the driver’s seat and Smith was next to her.
Dealmeida admitted the two of them and her daughter had lunch at Family Restaurant earlier that afternoon but told Goodrich she had no idea Smith used fake money to pay the bill.
“I asked why they seemingly left in such a hurry. Dealmeida said that she raced her child to the car. I told her that it also looked like she was leaving the lot in a hurry, as she began to pull away before Smith even closed the door. Dealmeida stated that she saw how it looked and knew how they left,” Goodrich wrote in his report.
Smith then told Goodrich that he did not know he had used fake money, saying his children had fake money and one of them put the notes in his wallet. He also told Goodrich he would go back to Family Restaurant and pay his bill with real currency.
“I explained that the issue was not necessarily the unpaid food, but also the passing of the fake money as real,” Goodrich wrote in his report, adding neither of them had any fake notes on them.
Goodrich then told Dealmeida and Smith they would be charged for the restaurant incident and to expect court summonses in the mail.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.