(CN) - A Wal-Mart cashier and manager tore up two $100 bills and held a customer for hours until police came and told the store the cash was legitimate, the furious customer claims in court.
Julia Garcia sued Wal-Mart Stores in Bexar County Court, San Antonio.
She says she was Christmas shopping with her children at a Wal-Mart in San Antonio in December 2010 and entered a checkout lane around 2 a.m.
Garcia says she paid for her $150 purchase with a $100 bill, a $50 bill and change.
"The cashier inspected the $100 bill, turned to another cashier and had a brief discussion, and returned to her register telling the plaintiff her money was 'fake,'" the complaint states. "The cashier proceeded to rip the $100 bill in half without performing any counterfeit detection tests. The metallic strip in the $100 bill was clearly visible."
Then, Garcia says, the cashier then marked the torn bill with a counterfeit detection pen, which left a yellow mark - showing that the bill was legitimate.
Garcia claims that a manager named Russell was called, and he told her the money was counterfeit and she would have to wait for police. But he made no effort to test the money, Garcia says.
"At this time, she took out the other $100 bill she had in her possession," Garcia says. "Russell took this bill from her, told her it was also counterfeit, ripped it in half and again told plaintiff she had to wait for police."
Garcia claims Wal-Mart held her for more than 2 hours at the front of the store, in sight of all its customers. She says customers who asked what was going on were told Garcia was trying to use fake currency.
Finally, at about 4:15 a.m., two San Antonio police officers arrived and asked Garcia where she got the money. She told them she got it from selling her car.
"Officer Edwards told her that the money taken by Wal-Mart was legitimate and that the store had made a terrible mistake by their conduct," the complaint states. "He then approached the manager, who appeared upset by what he was told by Officer Edwards."
Garcia claims that Russell then told her "sarcastically" that the police said the money was legitimate.
"At this time, he attempted to hand plaintiff the two torn $100 bills he had misappropriated to her," the complaint states. "When plaintiff objected to receiving torn bills, Officer Edwards instructed Manager Russell to replace the bills he had wrongfully taken and destroyed."
Garcia says she the "humiliating ordeal" ended at 5 a.m., when Edwards escorted her to her vehicle and "apologized profusely" for Wal-Mart's conduct, telling her "the store had no reasonable basis" to think the cash was fake.
Garcia seeks punitive damages for false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
She is represented by John Younger of San Antonio.