Is the man accused by Spanish authorities of faking heart attacks to avoid paying restaurant bills?

Dining and dashing, a shady practice that has been around for a long time, has taken an unexpected twist in Spain. In a bizarre turn of events, a 50-year-old Lithuanian man, amusingly referred to as the “gastrojeta” by locals, has been apprehended and charged with faking heart attacks to elude paying his restaurant bills.

The incident unfolded last month in the popular tourist district of Alicante. Moisés Doménech, the manager of a well-known establishment called El Buen Comer, recounted the peculiar encounter. According to reports from Spain’s EFE news agency, the man sauntered into the restaurant and casually ordered a delectable seafood dish accompanied by a couple of whiskeys.

But the restaurant’s astute staff member, who wishes to remain unnamed, sensed that something fishy was going on. It became apparent that the man had no intention of honoring his bill and was attempting to execute the classic dine-and-dash maneuver. The employee confronted the rascal, which led to an interesting chain of events.

Rather than admitting to his foul play or attempting an escape, the 50-year-old resorted to an audacious act. He dramatically collapsed onto the floor, feigning a heart attack in an attempt to gain sympathy and divert attention. To add to the melodrama, he insisted that an ambulance be called for his “dire” medical condition. However, instead of dialing emergency services, the restaurant staff wisely decided to contact the police, seeing through the blatant ruse.

The authorities wasted no time in responding to the restaurant’s call and swiftly arrived at the scene. On arrival, they encountered a man who stubbornly clung to his charade, persistently reiterating his desperate need for an ambulance. However, the law enforcement officers recognized him immediately and promptly took him into custody.

Insider reached out to the Alicante National Police for a statement. A spokesperson confirmed the man’s history of repeatedly engaging in this cunning act and revealed that such incidents have occurred numerous times over the past year in the city. The spokesperson stated, “He was arrested multiple times in the city of Alicante. The modus operandi was the same.”

In an intriguing revelation, one police officer claimed to have arrested the man on four previous occasions, with the first incident dating back to November 2022. While the spokesperson from the Alicante National Police acknowledged that the man had been jailed, specific details regarding his previous arrests remain undisclosed.

The “gastrojeta” has certainly taken dining and dashing to a whole new level. His audacious attempts to deceive restaurant owners, feigning heart attacks to escape the clutches of unpaid bills, have caused quite a stir in Alicante. The city, it seems, has become a hotspot for his theatrical antics, with no less than twenty such incidents reported over the past year.

While the specific repercussions faced by the “gastrojeta” in this recent encounter are yet to be divulged, it is evident that the law is catching up to his deceptive acts. Whether his dramatic performances will continue to charm restaurant owners or land him in even deeper legal trouble remains to be seen. For now, Alicante’s dining establishments can breathe a sigh of relief, at least until the next clever con artist comes along.

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