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Free restaurant meals for six years: con man's 'modus operandi'

The man is already well-acquainted with the Zaragoza police with more than 40 arrests for his practice. “He’s got a lot of nerve,” said one bar owner.

The man is already well-acquainted with the Zaragoza police with more than 40 arrests for his practice. “He’s got a lot of nerve,” said one bar owner.

The deceptive Spanish man is named Antonio Miguel Grimal. At 47 years old, he’s made news for his habit of eating in restaurants and not paying, which he’s been doing for six years now, without paying a single bill. He has become well-acquainted with the Zaragoza police after being arrested up to 46 times, according to the newspaper, Heraldo de Aragón.

How does he do it?

His “modus operandi” is always the same: he orders different, tasty dishes, eats as much as he wants of them, orders the bill, and when it comes, refuses to pay. If the waiter threatens to report him, Antonio Miguel Grimal waits calmly and patiently for an officer to arrive, completely indifferent. “He’s got a lot of nerve. He knows that they can’t do anything,” said Juanjo Gracia, owner of the bar Espumosos 5M’ de Zaragoza. “The bastard told the waiter to get him a beer while he was waiting for the police. If he’s been locked up, it’s because he refused to identify himself or didn’t attend his hearings,” Gracia continued.

According to the publications on Heraldo de Aragón, this individual was already in prison on March 13th after being reported by nine different restaurants in one month when he refused to pay the bill for what he ordered and consumed. “It is not the usual because the precedent of the Supreme Court prevents the aggravating circumstance of repeated offences of minor crimes in order to avoid disproportionate penalties,” Cadena Ser reported. According to that same outlet, the Prosecutor’s Office even ordered him to three years in prison and a 2,160 euro fine in 2017 for dining in a hotel, with a value of 143.30 euros, which he never paid. However, he ended up with a much smaller sentence of less than 270 euros and the obligation to pay off the debt with the establishment.

Flaw in the legal system

Grimal relies on impunity based on a flaw in the legal system. As he only has non-contributory pressure, he is able to avoid all sanctions awarded by the administration. After a quick trial, where a restraining order is imposed on the scammed establishment, Grimal goes about his merry way, celebrating his great deeds by repeating his “modus operandi” in whichever other nearby bar or restaurant that he chooses.