MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — A man suspected of skipping out on the check at several restaurants has been arrested and faces charges out of multiple towns.
Anthony Addesa, 58, of Palm Beach, Florida, was nabbed Friday in Woonsocket on two counts of obtaining food with intent to defraud, according to Middletown police. Those charges were out of Middletown, police said.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Middletown police said they were investigating a suspect who had been “frequenting local hotels and restaurants throughout Aquidneck Island.”
Police said they received a complaint from Tito’s Cantina on West Main Road last Thursday that a man had consumed food and drinks, then got up and left without paying the bill.
Two days prior, the department said it had received a similar complaint from Ida’s on Valley Road.
Addesa, according to police, was identified through surveillance video and later admitted to investigators that he “did in fact go to Ida’s and leave without paying.”
After being interviewed by police on Friday, Addesa also admitted to having had food and drinks at Fieldstones Grille on East Main Road in Portsmouth and not paying his check there.
As a result, Portsmouth police have also charged him with one count of obtaining food with intent to defraud.
Ashley Kempenaar served the alleged suspect last week. She recalled that a man came in and said he was a polo player playing nearby. He then struck up a conversation with another woman at the bar.
“They exchanged phone numbers, walked her out as if he was a gentleman,” Kempenaar said. “She thought he was really nice, didn’t think anything of it. Racked up a $70 bill, never came back in.”
“Just kind of makes you question who people are,” she added.
Kempenaar says with the help of a customer the man gave his number to, the restaurant actually made contact with the man before getting police involved.
“He ended up messaging saying, ‘Had a family emergency. I’ll come back and pay,’ never to be heard of again,” she said.
“We tried to say you know, ‘We’re gonna press charges, you need to come back,’ and, like, ‘You need to pay your tab.’ Just never heard from again,” Kempenaar added.
Fieldstones posted about the incident on Tuesday, saying a man skipped out on a $70 lunch tab, in hopes of making an identification.
“Some other restaurants had private messaged me, I think we might be on to the same guy,” Kempenaar said.
Kempenaar says she’s personally taking extra precautions now, asking customers who may step outside to take a phone call or run to their car to give the restaurant a credit card they can hang on to.
“Now I’m always second guessing every time someone gets off work takes a phone call outside that this is gonna happen again,” she added.
Capt. Michael Faria told 12 News that Middletown police are aware of additional similar instances in Newport and Portsmouth, and they’re working to see if there’s a connection.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Adam Tobias at (401) 846-1144 ext. 7009.