“Be on the lookout for these 5 individuals who may be habitual dine-n-dashers,” reads a social media post by Queen Violet WeHo, an Asian Fusion Restaurant located at 8543 Santa Monica Blvd.
“On Saturday January 28, 2023, these customers made bogus complaints and took off after shortchanging us on the bill for half the amount. See the attached videos showing them leave the table abruptly and walking away from their ride and the driver taking off when we approached the car. Diners, please alert the wait staff if you see these people. Restaurant owners and staff, be on alert if you recognize these people dining at your establishment and if they start to complain about everything for no apparent reason.”
The post refers to a video showing five individuals get up out of their seats without paying the full amount of their bill.
“Be on the lookout for these 5 individuals who may be habitual dine-n-dashers,” warns Queen Violet WeHo, an Asian Fusion Restaurant located at 8543 Santa Monica Blvd. #wehotimes #weho
— WEHO TIMES (@WEHO_TIMES) January 31, 2023
“If you walk out of a California restaurant or bar without paying your bill – ‘dine and dash’ as it is often called – you are committing a crime and could land in jail,” says attorney Neil Shouse, of Shouse California Law Group.
Under Section 537(a), it is a California criminal offense to:
“…Obtain any food, fuel, services, or accommodations at a hotel, inn, restaurant, boardinghouse, lodging house, apartment house, bungalow court, motel, marina, marine facility, auto camp, ski area, or public or private campground, without paying therefor, with intent to defraud the proprietor or manager thereof”
However, in order for leaving without paying to be a crime, it must have been done “with the intent to defraud.”
According to Shouse, the penalties upon conviction for a violation of Section 537 depend on the size of the tab:
If the value of the credit, food and beverages is $950 or less, you could be fined up to $1,000 and/or sentenced to up to six months in county jail.
If the value of the credit, food and beverages is greater than $950, you could be sentenced to one to three years in county jail.
When asked if Queen Violet WeHo management called the West Hollywood Sheriff’s to file a report, they told WEHO TIMES they did not make the call because, “we think police is going to do nothing. It’s a small claim.”
They said they posted the video because they wanted to warn all the other restaurants about these five individuals who all seemed to be in agreement that they get a meal at half-price if they complain and they appear to make a getaway when they were confronted on the street.