An Illinois man with a dine and dash habit has been jailed for three years after he skipped out on a restaurant bill for $70.
The dine and dash jail sentence followed, prosecutors say, an unpaid $70 tab at Alamo Steak House in Mattoon. Defendant Anthony M. Malabehar, 47, was convicted of a similar restaurant theft just prior to the Mattoon incident, but apparently was not deterred from repeating the crime that landed him in prison.
On April 4, restaurant workers said, Malabehar ran up the $70 tab at the Alamo Steak House by ordering an appetizer, drinks, and dinner.
When the check arrived, they explained, Malabehar simply said he was unable to pay the amount and caused no other trouble while police responded. While a three year sentence may seem unusually harsh, a local news source reports that the man’s record and previous instances of dine and dash run-ins was part of the sentencing decision:
“A theft of that amount is normally a misdemeanor offense but Malabehar was charged with a felony because of his criminal record, which apparently includes several theft and other property offense convictions in Cook County … Malabehar was also eligible for an extended prison sentence, up to six years or twice the normal maximum, because of his earlier convictions.”
Two months prior to the April dine and dash accusation, Malabehar was accused of running up a tab at Mattoon’s Hunan Restaurant and similarly refusing to pay.
Malabehar’s public defender and the State’s Attorney arranged a plea for the defendant in the case, and in addition to three years of jail time for the dine and dash, he was sentenced to restitution to the Alamo Steak House and a $100 fine.