By: Jen Russon
A Tamarac restaurant that specializes in authentic Caribbean food was targeted by a scammer on Tuesday with the owner reportedly losing more than $1,000.
“It all started with a phone call,” said Harry Sinclair, owner of Butter Flakes Bakery & Grill. “This lady called in and asked to speak with me. She said she was having a party on a yacht with celebrity guests like Tom Brady.”
Sinclair said the woman identified herself as Cinnamon Cobbs, and was eager to tell him that her son was CEO of Channel 7 news in Miami. She also claimed that she had heard of Butter Flakes through word of mouth. Her maid, a Jamaican woman named Catherine Lee, was a big fan of the restaurant’s cuisine and her budget was $25,000.
Cobbs submitted a huge order to the restaurant located at 5100 W Commercial Blvd, which Sinclair said they filled and delivered to a hotel in Coconut Grove around 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Cobbs said she wanted the food delivered to her Miami hotel, and that she would send her maid to the parking lot to collect the order and pay for it.
Things got fishier when a skinny woman, believed to be the “maid”, kept her distance from the Butter Flakes delivery vehicle, and asked that the food be left on a bench outside the hotel.
“She didn’t say she wanted any help bringing the food inside, which I thought was strange,” Sinclair said, adding, “there’s probably video of it.”
He said the woman picking up the food indicated to Butter Flakes staff that she did not have their money; if they wanted it, they should go to Channel 7 News.
On their way to the news station, Sinclair said he received phone call after phone call from Cinnamon Cobbs. Frantic, she asked him for a big favor. She needed wine for her yacht party, and would he please wire her $2,000 dollars through Western Union. She said she’d pay him $500 for the trouble.
Sinclair did the math and knew this made no sense.
He said that Cinnamon repeatedly called, asking him not to go to Channel 7 news; instead, she tried to persuade him to meet her in a restaurant, where she would pay him for the food in full.
Sinclair admitted he was too afraid to go, and blocked her number.
“I didn’t want to risk getting beat up or killed over this. I went to Channel 7 and reported what happened with her, and they said that it keeps happening.”
Sinclair said he was so upset, he has yet to report the incident to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
“Channel 7 said that the scammer always does the same thing as she did to me. It’s the same story. The same story every time,” said Sinclair.
Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.