According to the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier, repeat bill-skipper Anthony M. Malabehar — a 47-year-old from Charleston, Illinois — received a three-year prison sentence after he refused to pay a $70 dinner bill at the Alamo Steak House last April in nearby Mattoon.
The trouble started when Malabehar ordered drinks, an appetizer, and an entrée at the steakhouse, then simply refused to pay. He didn’t give any reason for why he didn’t want to pay, and he didn’t put up a fight — he simply waited for police to show up and arrest him.
Normally, that would be a misdemeanor, but Malabehar pulled the same move two months earlier at Mattoon’s Hunan Restaurant. So, because of Malabehar’s criminal record, a judge gave him a three-year prison sentence. He also has to pay the restaurant for the meal as well as a $100 fine. That seems excessive, but the court actually dropped a more severe charge of burglary — prosecutors said Malabehar "entered the restaurant planning to steal" — which would have carried a fourteen-year setence.
Man gets 3 years in prison after restaurant meal thefts [Journal Gazette & Times-Courier]