Methamphetamine Tip Gets Couple Arrested at 'Classy Place'

Friday, 10 Jan 2014 07:03 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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An Oregon waitress collecting a couple's restaurant bill last week was confused at first to find an envelope with a question mark on it until she peeked inside and realized she had been tipped in methamphetamine.

"She was like, Whoa — what the…?'" Steve Keszler, a manager at the Twisted Fish Steakhouse in Seaside, told "We're not a little dive bar or hole in the wall. We’re a classy place."

The waitress had served the two patrons — suspected meth dealers 40-year-old Ryan Bensen and 37-year-old Erica Manley — dinner and drinks Thursday night at the downtown steakhouse. They paid for their meal with a gift card and left the envelope as a gratuity, according to Seaside Police Chief Robert Gross.

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The server quietly took the psychoactive drug into the back of the restaurant and called the police. Bensen and Manley, who were still at the Twisted Fish when officials arrived, were arrested after officers discovered more meth in Manley's purse.

"While I should be shocked and surprised, it’s just another example of how dumb these users and dealers are," Gross told "The whole thing almost made me chuckle."

A search of the couple's vehicle and room at a nearby Holiday Inn Express revealed more meth and paraphernalia for manufacturing the drug. Bensen was charged with possession and manufacture of methamphetamine. Manley was hit with the same charges and one additional count of delivering meth.

Unusual restaurant tip stories have become something of a news trend lately. Last year, a gay New Jersey waitress and former Marine made headlines when she claimed a family stiffed her on a tip and instead left a homophobic note. She received more than $3,000 in donations when her story went viral and vowed to give it all to the Wounded Warriors fund.

But the family accused of leaving the anti-gay message ultimately came forward and showed their credit card statements, which proved that they left the waitress a 20 percent tip and no hate note. She was let go of her job after it was revealed that she also never donated the $3,000 to charity.

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