Betty Barnhill, a hostess at a Crestview Holiday Inn restaurant, chased a six-foot man into the parking lot three weeks ago when she became suspicious he had handed her bad Master Charge card.
Although a credit card checklist confirmed her suspicions, she says she’ll never do it again. The man she chased down was convicted kidnaper and multiple rap-murder suspect Ted Bundy.
« I told my boss after I found out that I would never, ever do that again. If I’d known who he was, I would have let him have his breakfast free, let him keep his credit card and not say a word. And I told him I wouldn’t ever check the bad card list again, neither, » Mrs. Barnhill said.
That was Feb. 12, two days before Bundy was caught with 21 stolen cards on him.
Her costumer was no big tipper. Just 50 cents for a hearty breakfast — cereal, omelet, large milk, large orange juice, coffee — that cost $5.74. And with someone else’s credit card, at that.
« I got suspicious when he came in wearing bluejeans and a sweatshirt thing with a hood — carrying a briefcase. And he reaches down and gets the card out of the briefcase. Most men carry them in their wallets, » she said.
And it didn’t help any that the card was signed Cathleen Evans, either, but the man authorities now believe was Bundy had a pretty convincing pitch that he was the man whose name he signed, « Thomas Evans — it’s my wife’s card, » she quotes him saying. But Mrs. Barnhill was having none of that.
She asked him if he’d just give her the card back and come on inside while she checked it.
« He smiled and said ‘sure’, » she said, « but when I went to look it up he had got in his car and run off. »
But not before she had asked a porter to get his license number.
It was registered to the same vehicle Bundy was driving the night of his capture, 48 hours later on Feb. 15. » – The Tampa Tribune, March 5, 1978