The 'Dine and Dash' dater in Los Angeles just got charged with seven felonies
With plenty of swiping apps, horror stories and the long spectre of heartbreak looming large over every romantic rendezvous, finding someone with whom to spend your life is a terrifying and stressful thing in this day and age.
With so many social hurdles and obstacles to navigate and more choice than ever, the pressure is on to find the perfect date, and even when you manage to find someone who tolerates (maybe even likes) your presence, you're constantly in fear of that person leaving you for the next Tinder match or DM-slider who happens to appear.
Because of this terrifying dance of anxiety and insecurity that's a requisite of loving, potentially life-changing relationships, there's an element of good faith involved in your average date. So when you finish your romantic dinner and (very kindly) offer to pay for the both of you, it's pretty rough when your date goes to the bathroom and never comes back.
For a while in Los Angeles, this hypothetical was an unnerving reality, but now, the dine and dash dater terrorising Los Angeles has finally been put behind bars. 45-Year-old Paul Gonzales picked up quite a few free wine and steak dinners worth a total of $950, but LA police finally tracked him down and caught him, so feel free to swipe freely once more.
"From May 2016 through April 2018, Gonzales is accused of taking financial advantage of women he met mostly through dating apps and websites," reads a statement from the LA County DA's office, so even if Gonzales' antics have been doing the rounds for about six months, he's been around for a lot longer.
"He allegedly went to dinner with them at restaurants in Pasadena, Long Beach, Burbank and Los Angeles, where he ordered and consumed food and drinks, then allegedly left without paying any of the bill, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Fern of the Cyber Crime Division."
Like the criminals we often see in our movies and gritty primetime dramas, Gonzales' victims often found him really charming before he ditched them in savage fashion. "He's a very, very handsome man. His eyes are absolutely gorgeous," says one of his victims during an interview with CBS.
Another of his victims says Gonzales really treated himself for ditching, ordering a ton of food and leaving nothing but "maybe half a baked potato".
"He left maybe half a baked potato and then received a phone call and said 'I need to take this call.' The waiter came back and said, 'He's not out there. Is this a first date? And I said: 'Yes, this is a first blind date, and he said, 'He's gone.'"
Well, Los Angeles daters, fear not; Gonzales has been arrested, and is off the streets, his preliminary hearing set for September 7. He's facing several charges, including seven counts of extortion, two counts of attempted extortion and one count of grand theft - all felonies - as well as "two misdemeanor counts each of defrauding an innkeeper and petty theft".