Homeless man has $500 meal at 5-star hotel before walking out without paying
Have you ever had a nice dinner in a busy restaurant, and wondered whether it would be possible to just leave without paying? Not that you would ever go through with it, of course, but it is interesting to think about from time to time. When waiters and waitresses are busy serving others and you're close to the door, you could potentially get a free meal, as long as you think it's worth the risk.
If you were actually going to go through with something like that, you would have to have the audacity and the poor circumstances to warrant it. Both of which this man had when he paid nothing for his five star meal. See, Michael Andrew Phillips, 52 years old, is a homeless man living in Jersey - and he had a meal beyond most of our wildest dreams without paying a cent.
Michael ended up with a bill of £400 ($528) when he bought himself an expensive meal at the luxurious Old Court House hotel in Jersey, which overlooks St. Aubin harbour. He ordered a steak and a bottle of Dom Pérignon champagne, before walking away without paying the bill.
When he first arrived, staff told him he was not allowed to stay at the bar without ordering food. So, he ordered a prawn cocktail, a ribeye steak, as well as several drinks leading up to the aforementioned champagne. He then asked for a room in the $200-a-night hotel and ordered two more bottles of wine.
He handed over his driving license as proof of his identity but left the hotel without paying, taking the wine with him. Eventually, he was tracked down and arrested by the police, then positively identified by the staff. Despite not remembering the day that well, he admitted the offences at the island's magistrates' court, where he was charged with criminally and fraudlently obtaining food and lodgings.
Centenier Amanda Wright said:
"He had prawn cocktail, ribeye steak, wine and a bottle of Dom Pérignon. The bill was not paid and he asked for a room. He gave his driving licence as identification and had two bottles of unopened wine on him as he headed toward the hotel room."
She then went on to say that there had been no sign of him in the hotel the next morning and no indication he had slept in the bed at all.
Advocate John McCormick, who was defending Phillips, stated that his client suffered from mental health problems and had not been taking the correct medication at the time. The court arranged for Phillips to attend an immediate appointment at the community mental health services, who would try to find accommodation for him.
"You were not on the right medication at the time," Magistrate Bridget Shaw told Phillips. "As long as you keep taking your medication, there is no reason to believe that you will do anything like this again." She then ordered him to repay the hotel compensation equal to its losses and he was bound over to be of good behaviour for 12 months.