By John Ensor •
Published: 21 Sep 2023 • 14:18
Restaurant 'Buen comer', Alicante.
Credit: la Cocina del Buen Comer/Facebook.com
A recent episode at an Alicante restaurant has exposed a serial conman, who regularly faked illness to dodge paying his bill.
Following an incident in Alicante this week, the National Police have arrested a 50-year-old man, who has become notorious for his unique dine-and-dash technique, according to El Pais.
This latest altercation was not his first deception. In fact, over the past year, he’s been arrested 20 times for similar scams in the tourist hotspot of Alicante. A National police officer, involved in four of these arrests, remarked on Wednesday, September 20: ‘The “gastro-conman” seems to have a particular fondness for Russian salad tapas.’
The unnamed man, of Lithuanian origin, was dressed in long grey trousers, a polo shirt, hiking shoes, and a jacket from popular designer brands. His affluent look was a ploy he often used to mislead restaurant staff. The attire played a significant role in the service he received, making his act all the more convincing.
Moises Domenech, the manager of ‘El Buen Comer’, recounted the man’s recent visit. He said, ‘This man came in yesterday.’ Choosing an indoor table, he ordered ‘seafood paella for one’ and a whiskey, which he apparently downed in a single gulp.
When he attempted to leave without settling the bill, reportedly around €35, a staff member approached him about the unpaid amount. Calmly, he replied that he’d fetch the money from his hotel. But when his exit was blocked, he dramatically collapsed near the entrance, feigning a heart attack.
The restaurant‘s staff wasn’t easily fooled. They promptly called the police. Upon their arrival, the ‘gastro-conman’ requested an ambulance. However, the officers recognised him instantly. After confirming he was in good health, they arrested him and ensured that a swift trial awaited him. The crime is considered minor as it does not exceed €400.
In an effort to prevent future incidents, the police have shared his photographs with other local eateries.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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