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Bubbly was a bargain for 'customer'

A store owner was next door at his club when a man switched price tags and stole a $140 of Dom Perignon champagne.

By MICHAEL SANDLER

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 4, 2000


TAMPA PALMS -- Phillip Knox was on stage posing as Elvis at his club, the Falls, when someone else decided to do a little impersonation nearby.

Next door, Knox also owns a liquor store under the same name, where he keeps plenty of high-priced spirits on the shelves. But last month, someone authorized a sale and failed to notify Knox.

The Tampa Police Department reported that a man walked into the store on May 14, selected a $140 bottle of Dom Perignon and switched the price tag with a discount brand. The man subsequently purchased the bottle for $10, climbed in his green Mustang and made off with the bubbly. The petty theft occurred a little before 11 p.m.

Knox, who was singing karaoke at the club, said a new clerk unfamiliar with the stock was at the counter at the time of the sale. Moments later, Knox said the clerk discovered the ruse and ran next door to alert him of the petty theft.

"It's never happened before," said Knox, who has owned the pair of businesses the past year. "It's kind of unusual."

-- Michael Sandler can be reached at (813) 226-3472 or sandler@sptimes.com.

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