Culinary coronaries: Man fakes heart attacks to avoid paying bill at 20 restaurants

ALICANTE, Spain — A restaurant patron went from cardiac arrest to police arrest after authorities saw through his alleged ruse.

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A Lithuanian man is accused of faking heart attacks at restaurants in Spain to avoid paying the bill, authorities said. According to police, the 50-year-old man, who has been identified only as Aidas J., repeatedly faked the coronary episodes at fancy restaurants in and around the Mediterranean coastal city of Alicante, Fox Business reported.

He was arrested last month in what a spokesperson for Alicante National Police told Insider was the 20th incident this year.

According to Spain’s EFE news agency and the Spanish newspaper El País, the man ordered seafood paella and two whiskey drinks at El Buen Corner, which was his last target. The bill came to $36.75.

The manager of the restaurant, Moisés Doménech, told EFE that a worker noticed the attempted dine-and-dash.

When the manager confronted the customer, he allegedly claimed he was going to his hotel room to get cash. However, the restaurant staffers refused to let him leave, according to the news outlet.

At that point, the suspect feigned a heart attack, but restaurant workers called police instead of an ambulance, Fox Business reported.

A police spokesperson told Insider that the man was a repeat offender.

“He was arrested multiple times in the city of Alicante,” she said. “The modus operandi was the same.”

The spokesperson told Insider that the man was sent to jail but did not provide further information, including whether the suspect had been released.

According to EFE, the man orders expensive items like lobster, entrecote, and premium whiskeys. Police said he did not appear to be fazed when he was arrested, Insider reported.

It was unclear whether the man’s medical bills for riding in an ambulance were more than the dinner bills he was attempting to skip.