Scammer poses as Mulberry BBQ king to swindle victims

- Someone is using Johnny Carter's name and culinary reputation to scam people.

Carter has owned Carter's Bar-B-Que on State Road 60 in Mulberry for the last 15 years. So he is well known around town and his ribs are legendary.

But some guy is taking advantage of that. The scammer approaches people and says he was on his way to deliver ribs to a homeless shelter when the rims on his car broke, and he needs $20 to fix them.

"If a man's got to use someone else's identity for self-gain, he is worthless," said Carter.

Lakeland City Commissioner Bill "Tiger" Read fell for it.

As a thank you, the guy told Read, "Come by the bar-b-que and we'll fix you up. You can have all the bar-b-que you want."

When Read stopped into the restaurant, he figured out that he had been conned. When he told his buddy, Ryan Lewman what happened, Lewman said he fell for the same ruse. So have dozens of other people.

But it was not a good idea to try and pull the wool over the eyes of David McCullough. McCullough had a pretty good idea of what the real Carter looks like because he is used to seeing him around town.

"What I remembered him looking like, he didn't look like that," said McCullough.

So he took pictures of the guy, which may be the first step towards catching him.

In the meantime, he is still wandering around Polk County, hungry to find new people to bite on his lie. 

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