Guy faces felony charges after allegedly 'dining and dashing' on a number of women
A man from California has been charged with 10 felony crimes after allegedly fleeing from a number of fancy restaurants without paying.
Paul Guadalupe Gonzales, who has since been dubbed the "Dine and Dash Dater", has been accused of taking at least 10 different women to high-end establishments across California, and has each time left his unknowing date to foot the bill. On eight occasions, the women were forced to cover the costs themselves, with the restaurants paying for Gonzales' antics on the other two.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the 45-year-old offender scheduled a number of dates across a period of almost two years between May 2016 and April 2018. He scoped out restaurants in Pasadena, Long Beach, Burbank, and Los Angeles, and would always order food and drinks before excusing himself from the table.
One of Gonzales' first dates, Marjorie Moon, spoke to Buzzfeed News about her experience with the serial date ditcher.
She'd met Gonzales through an online dating app and claimed that, for the majority of the time, he seemed to be enjoying his evening. At one point, he even spoke about his "beautiful date" to a waiter - so Moon had no reason to suspect anything out of the ordinary.
He also ate in excess, having ordered chicken, four lobster tails, a chocolate soufflé, and both wine and coffee to drink.
"Then he excused himself to make a phone call and that’s when he didn’t come back," Moon said. "It was about five minutes when I started saying, 'I don’t know, something isn’t right to me.'"
Sure enough, after checking with a member of staff, Moon discovered that Gonzales had left the restaurant without any warning.
"It was a pretty horrible feeling, it was very embarrassing," she said. "I’d never had anything like that happen to me before."
Over a long period, Gonzales is said to have defrauded his unsuspecting dates of more than $950 (£730) in total, which, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't seem like a huge amount - but the Dine and Dash Dater now has a hefty price to pay for his actions.
He's been charged with seven counts of extortion, two counts of attempted extortion, one count of grand theft - all of which are felonies - and two misdemeanor charges of defrauding an innkeeper and petty theft. If found guilty on all of these charges, Gonzales could face up to 13 years behind bars.
Upon hearing that he could face time for his crimes, several of his victims expressed elation. One of them said that she was "ecstatic" to hear he would be punished for his actions, while another joked that, "He doesn't have to worry about any meals now. He's gonna get three square meals a day."
It was also mentioned that Gonzales allegedly visited a hair salon recently and left without paying, but the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office stated that this was a "separate and unrelated incident".
Gonzales is currently being held on $315,000 bail after appearing in court on August 27th. He is next scheduled to appear in court on September 7th.