Crook Busted Paying Fine With Marked Bills

Use bills marked "Homestead" after robbing restaurant of same name

A group of suspected thieves in Kern County may need to learn the concept of "unmarked bills."

A restaurant known as The Homestead in the high desert town of Inyokern had a tradition of customers hanging dollar bills on its walls, usually inscribing them with messages and other distinguishing details.

Last week a man used 10 of the bills, some with the word "Homestead" on them, to pay a court fine, and a clerk immediately recognized them, Sheriff's Sgt. Tyson Davis said Monday.

Donald Dejarnette, 34, and four others have been arrested on suspicion of lifting $8,000 worth of the bills from the restaurant's walls, authorities said.

About $1,000 from the now-closed restaurant has been recovered, some of it from banks where the bills were traded in for larger currency.

A sheriff's deputy reached early Tuesday did not know whether any of the suspects has hired an attorney.

The restaurant has been shuttered and for sale for over a year, but the owner has kept it intact with the remaining bills still on the wall.

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