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Right on cue, dentures take flight in fight

Published Aug. 24, 2005

Rebecca J. Banks lost her cool and her false teeth Thursday after a guitar player refused to buy her a beer at Casey's Pub, according to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office.

By Friday morning Banks, 45, of Floral City, was in jail on charges of battery. Authorities say she threw several pool balls and punched a customer at the bar, located at U.S. 41 S and Eden Drive.

When a deputy arrested Banks, she told him she'd lost something in all the confusion: her false teeth.

Friday, the day after the skirmish, bartender Sheri Salton and several customers said they think Banks' teeth may be stuck inside one of the bar's pool tables. A customer picked the teeth up off the floor and put them on a pool table after Banks threw them across the bar, Salton said.

The way Salton tells it, the commotion began during an open microphone session.

When the live band playing that night went on break, the microphone was open for anyone who wanted to play, Salton said. A man with a guitar started strumming classic rock.

Between songs, Banks approached the man and said "You can at least buy me a beer. You are my husband," witnesses told deputies, according to an arrest report.

The guitar player told Banks he didn't know her and had come to the bar with his fiancee, according to the report.

At this remark, Banks got upset, picked up several balls from a pool table and hurled them throughout the bar, according to the report.

She then walked over to the guitar player's fiancee, Jennifer Knoebel, 30, of Brooksville, and punched her in the nose, witnesses told a deputy, who said he found a small, inch-long cut on the victim's nose.

Salton said Banks also tore down curtains, then whipped a set of false teeth from her mouth, throwing them across the bar. After a customer picked the teeth up from the floor and put them on top of one of the pool tables, Salton believes, someone moved them inside the pool table.

Bar employees checked the table pockets Friday morning but couldn't find the teeth, she said, and are worried the teeth may be lodged inside.

Salton said she recognized Banks because Banks left her wallet, including identification cards, at the bar in November.

Deputies searched for Banks near the bar and arrested her at 4:02 a.m. Friday at her home in Floral City, according to the report.

"Did you find my teeth?" she asked as the deputy arrested her, according to an arrest report. "I dropped them on the trail while I was lying on my stomach, hiding from the dog. I heard you call him off."

Deputies haven't seriously looked for the teeth yet, said sheriff's spokeswoman Gail Tierney. Banks might have been refering to the Withlacoochee State Trail, which runs near both the bar and Banks' residence, Tierney said.

Banks was taken to the county jail, where she was still being held Friday afternoon. Her bail was set at $500.

Banks was also arrested Dec. 2 on charges of trespassing on school grounds and resisting an officer without violence, according to sheriff's records. She is the second person arrested recently in connection with a bar fight in Citrus County involving pool balls.

A game of pool degenerated into violence early Dec. 9 when a woman hit her opponent in the head with a ball, according to an arrest report.

Fatima Marie Proctor, 31, of 3034 N Ali Terrace, Crystal River, was arrested on charges of aggravated battery and throwing a missile into a building, according to the report.

Proctor became angry because she was losing a game of pool at Griff's bar, 825 W Main St., Inverness, according to the report.

When Proctor's opponent would not leave the table, Proctor first threw a beer glass at his head, missing, and then threw a pool ball that struck the back of his head, according to the report.

The State Attorney's Office decided Jan. 6 that there was not enough information to file charges against Proctor, according to court records.

Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 860-7312 or