“Dine-and-Dash Dater”: California Man Facing Charges After Running Out On Expensive Meals With First Dates

paulkgThere is a novel criminal charge in Los Angeles where Paul Gonzales has been accused of being the so-called “Dine-and-Dash Dater.”  He allegedly would take women to expensive restaurants and then bolt after the meal —  leaving several women with restaurant bills.  He arranged the dinners through dating apps.  He is already facing allegations of petty theft.

Local media has been broadcasting his image above to warn women about Gonzales and his alleged eat-and-bolt technique.

Women have said that Gonzales eats big meals and then leaves to make a call to a sick aunt or some other emergency.  The women eventually learn that he has fled and stuck them with high dinner bills.

The police are reportedly investigating the recent cases, but the basis for the criminal charge is fascinating.  People often do not agree in advance on who will pay for meals, though many men and women still assume that the man will cover the tab. The meal however is consensual and, unless separate checks were stipulated, either individual could be held for the payment by the restaurant.  The question is whether Gonzales is just a cad or whether he is also a criminal.

Even for property under $950, you can be jailed for up to six months or fined up to $1,000.

A strong argument could be made for holding him liable for his dishes. It gets a bit more tricky to claim the full check unless he made an express assurance to the women on his buying dinner. However, that is between him and the police. These women are still on hook for the dinner.

What do you think? Should running out on a check be treated as a criminal matter?

One possibility would be to sentence him to a date with Jacqueline Ades.


25 thoughts on ““Dine-and-Dash Dater”: California Man Facing Charges After Running Out On Expensive Meals With First Dates”

  1. I really hope this sets legal precedent. It’d be nice to have a form of legal revenge against a bad date with a woman. Imagine neither of you make an explicit claim of who’s going to pay. This is going in the direction of “date pay consent” a la sexual consent. Supposing you don’t agree beforehand, then assuming the other will pay and making a big deal about it after could be viewed as coercive. Leaving and claiming they are a bad date and they suck is also forcing the other person to pay. I bet many women have done this to have a “moral high ground” to not pay. Manifest some way in which what the guy said or did was “disgusting” or “rude”, and then use that as an excuse to get angry and storm out. It looks like a bad date ending. But its really a woman manipulating the situation to score free food.

    And of course, thanks to the cultural values that “a man pays”, this doesn’t look like theft or exploitation. But if this becomes precedent then it can be weaponized against women who choose not to pay after the meal has already been eaten, or who try to pull the “leave a bad date” scenario.

    I’ll be glad to see men using this on women.

  2. Dont see why, women are online openly bragging about only going out with a guy for free meals. Women do the exact same thing and in fact brag about it and no one is filing charges. One guy does what hundreds of thousands of women do and brag about and its the end of the world.

  3. I take all my first dates to Taco Bell for the 99¢ crunchy tacos. The don’t get Ruth’s Chris until at least the 3rd or 4th date.

    1. Doubtmeister – I would start them all at Del Taco, that is the true test. 😉

  4. Going by experience, if you’re eating with a republican, be careful, they will run up the bill and leave someone else to pay the tab.

    1. Isn’t that the democrat way though? Social sharing of wealth and all…

  5. He’ll be apprehended, as he pulled the same stunt on a hairdresser. He had his hair cut and colored, then dashed out of the salon before paying, still wearing the smock. They have him on videotape. Plus he has bench warrants out for two failure to appears. As for the restaurants, at some place called BJ’s in Los Angeles he ordered steak and shrimp, a Caesar salad and wine for himself. The date didn’t order anything – I don’t know why. Then he disappeared “to take a phone call.” BJ’s waived the bill for the embarrassed date. However, at Morton’s, the date was stuck with the $163 tab, which they made her pay in full. So pick your dates and restaurants carefully.

  6. Blind dates are always risky on many levels. Blind dates online are even a greater risk. It’s best to meet someone by joining a club, do volunteer work in something that interests you, church or meet someone through mutual friends. Online dating is always risky!

  7. I agree that the woman (and I’m a woman) should pick up the check as well as the man, it’s only fair. You want equality, then pay up and look big. However, Speedy Gonzales here needs to grow some and at least forewarn the date.

    Is it a crime, no…………is it yellow and immoral, YES! Dashing? In one sense of the word, you bet.

  8. The two avenues open to the women are public shaming (with help from local news channels), and small claims court. Small claims is a serious threat, since even if the plaintiff ekes out a token decision from the judge (e.g., $1 judgment), the plaintiff can then notify the date-dasher “You have 3 days to pay me back my entire claim, or I will report this judgment against you to the 3 credit rating firms…do you want the fact of today’s judgment to show up on your credit report? Do you want to be explaining it for the next 10 years?”
    I used this strategy on a landlord who unfairly held back my security deposit, and it worked.

  9. It was indubitably condign punishment for a few of these broads. However, no one in authority subcontracted the job of cosmic punishment to this chump. Theft of services – Class A misdemeanor.

  10. Unless there is a separate check then this is a civil matter between the couple. Once she paid the bill then it ceased to be a theft where the victim was the restaurant.

    However, if the male told the woman that he would take her to dinner and would pay in exchange for her participating in the dinner it could be twisted into a fraud case. But I doubt many prosecutors will want to take a case such as this when they could more easily declare it to be a civil matter.

    On a separate note: Few law enforcement officers are aware of this but in Chapter 19 of the Revised Code of Washington there is a law specifically tailored to what most people know as Defrauding an Innkeeper.


    Ordinary, theft in the third degree, the lowest form of theft, is a Gross Misdemeanor punishable under RCW 9A.56.050. This is for general theft below $750.00.

    Since 19.48.110 is buried under the “Business Regulations” title, few LEOs know of it since 9A is the Washington Criminal Code.

    But under 19.48.110 if the amount of goods or services stolen is in aggregate greater than $75, the punishment is a Class B Felony. For unknown reasons, the legislature chose to skip Class C Felony. To my knowledge the threshold amount for the amount stole was not adjusted for inflation since its ratification. A dinner for four or five could easily exceed this amount.

    If a team of five absconded on their dinner the prosecutor could aggregate each person’s dinner bill, under 110 and because they could be considered equal actors under the theft charge so each could be charged with a B Felony, instead of just Gross Misdemeanors.

    Afterward they thieves could be subjected to as civil action against them by the business’ owner under http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=4.24.230

  11. I thought that the person who requests the lunch or dinner date is the one who pays, unless there is an understanding to the contrary. Thus if I invite Paul CS to lunch, I pay. If Paul invites Darren to lunch, Paul pays. Regardless of gender. I have several buddies and our understanding is we each pay our own tabs, regardless who who makes the invite. With traditional dating, usually it is the man who is expected to pay, unless the woman offers to help with the bill. I don’t know what gay people do. The problem with charging this guy with “defrauding an innkeeper,” (the legal charge in CA for skipping out on meals) is that the restaurant was not defrauded. The women covered the bill. Presumably the defrauded date could sue him for breach of oral contract in Small Claims Court, and the matter might end up on Judge Judy.

    1. Evidently the one who pays, is the one who doesn’t slip away on a pretext.

    2. Like you said, unless there was agreement beforehand there was no oral contract. Inviting someone to dinner does not legally imply the inviter will pay.

  12. They used to call it “chew & screw”, or “eat & beat”. (99% breakfast diners)

  13. Cad, not criminal.

    There is no law that states that the man must pay for the meal. This would be one of those slippery slopes. If this was deemed criminal, then there could be a possibility that women could no get up and leave a bad date, either, or they could be prosecuted. Or what if a guy forgot his wallet? Could his date have him arrested?

    The punishment is for ladies to not select him as a date, and for his bad reputation to get out.

  14. First, we do not know if he stiffs all of his dates. Second, if he only selectively stiffs, perhaps the stiffees deserved getting stiffed after insulting him with tongue lashings because he had admitted voting for Trump.

    1. Plenty of people made the mistake of voting for Trump- they don’t deserve a tongue lashing any more than the people who made the mistake of voting for Hillary.

      Trump probably admires this guy, who is getting what he wants by leaving someone else to pay the tab.

  15. In the land of equality, the woman picks up the check just as well as the man. Tough to make a criminal case here.

    1. We don’t live in that land. We live in a land of reciprocal obligation. The problem for more than 40 years is that we cannot contrive a stable set of obligations.

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