There 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.