Servers at Halifax eateries on alert for chronic dine-and-dasher
Servers in Halifax are warning each other about a customer who they say is making a habit of dining and dashing.
One woman has been charged with dining-and-dashing seven times already this year, and police are investigating whether other cases are connected.
Server Brittany Paquette knows it pays to be hospitable in the hospitality business, which is why she’s a little hurt after an incident with a customer about a month ago.
She says an amiable middle-aged woman came in to the Athens Restaurant on Quinpool Road on a Monday night, ordered food and drinks and asked for the cheque.
“She starts to get up and put her jacket on, and I was like, ‘Do you need a machine?’” Paquette said. “And she was like, ‘Actually, I'm so sorry, I left my wallet at the hotel down the street.’”
Paquette says the woman promised to be right back, but never returned, leaving her to pay the tab of approximately $65.
A similar story unfolded 10 minutes away, just last Saturday at the Old Triangle downtown.
Security footage captured a woman arriving and even strolling past an ATM in the basement.
They say she sat on the patio and skipped out when the server wasn't looking.
Armed with a photo, the manager did a quick survey of other bars and restaurants in the area and was stunned by what he learned.
“There were probably five or six other restaurants just within two blocks of here that had also had a run-in with this lady in the last year,” said Brendan Doherty of The Old Triangle.
Servers have now taken to social media, swapping stories and sharing the woman's photo. Police say a 43-year-old woman has been charged seven times since the end of the march, most recently less than two weeks ago.
“That was on June 13,” said Halifax police spokeswoman Const. Carol McIsaac. “She appeared in Halifax Provincial Court that morning in relation to five of those charges.”
The charges were for “fraudulently obtaining food and lodging” and the total of unpaid tabs so far is nearly $1,200 and rising.
With servers such as Paquette on the hook for unpaid bills, she says will be keeping a closer eye on customers from now on.
“Here I am, 24 years old, I live on my own, trying to pay my bills too, and she hits me with that,” Paquette said.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.