Im sitting in the security office with security guards, a metro officer and our detainee. He's sitting on a bench with his hands behind him handcuffed while he stares at his dark sneakers. He's not sleeping or even fighting back, he's just staring at his shoes, perhaps thinking if his shoes would afford him the diner he just had.
He walked into one of our restaurants asking for a table. He looked run down but not too dirty to call attention to himself. I guess in retrospect I should have looked more carefully. Shoes have a way of telling a lot about someone's personality and or "status" in life; and his sneakers told me that he'd had a rough few days; dirty and dark and of a good brand. His clothes didn't say much other than being dark in color so no three day dirt showed. The smell though was there. Of this I was told by the waitress, who got much closer to him than I did and she was also the one that knew he was a "bum" and therefore had no money to pay.
At first it seemed a bit preposterous and condescending. It's very easy for some people to "profile" others by the way they "look" and I did not want to partake into the profiling game.
In my eyes the guy looked like he belonged in ours and or any other restaurant. Nonetheless, I told her just to wait till the end and to continue with service.
Sure enough after she dropped the check, he swiftly went for the door. Three steps behind came the server trotting in my direction while waving the check presenter with a sixty dollar tab inside.
Mr. Dirty sneakers had treated himself to a nice dinner of a Caesar Salad, seafood pasta and dessert. I'm surprised he did not order a bottle of Champagne to celebrate his outing but that would have called to much attention to himself.
I took the check from the server and quickly turned to follow dirty shoes.
As if by an act of magic worthy of David Copperfield, one of our security guards was standing by the hostess podium. With a quick motion, I asked him to keep an eye on our shoe guy while I caught up to him. I asked him how he intended to pay for his bill. With a look in his eyes that spike the truth, he managed to say that he was just going to the restroom and would be returning to pay the bill.
Not sure why I agreed but I showed him where the restroom was. The security guard was still on the look out when the shoe guy eventually came out. Of course he started walking out in the opposite direction from where he had just had a sumptuous meal.
Other guards arrived quickly. It must have been a slow night on the floor.
Procedure is to take the suspect down to "the office" while handcuffed until the proper authority comes and makes the arrest official.
Turns out that Mr. Dirty shoes had no record and was from out of town. He had a receipt from a local pawn shop where he apparently had turned in an apple lap top for an undetermined amount of money.
By the time he waked into our restaurant, he had probably gambled it all.
He was charged with "intent to defraud an innkeeper", cited and released.