John Edwards being led to Magistrates' Court on Tuesday. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
John Edwards being led to Magistrates' Court on Tuesday. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
A man described as a “career con man” after he was caught dodging a restaurant bill is being probed over a similar offence.

John Edwards, 42, received a suspended jail sentence on Tuesday for failing to pay a $196 bill at Splendido in September.

Police are now investigating him in connection with a similar incident at The Swizzle Inn in Bailey’s Bay, where a man left without paying a $140 bill.

Scam

Edwards, of Ferry Reach, St. George’s, has racked up convictions for dishonestly obtaining services and fraud.

He committed a similar scam at the Picked Onion in Hamilton.

During the sentencing hearing for the Splendido fraud, Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner said: “You think you’re a con man. Look at your record — the same thing over and over again.

“Dishonestly obtaining services, fraud, knowing that payment on the spot was due.

“Pickled Onion Restaurant, you went up there and got drinks. The same thing, over and over again. The same foolishness.”

Jay Correia, who owns The Swizzle Inn, said a customer did not pay their bill last autumn and the incident was reported to the police.

People dodging paying after eating out is not a problem in Bermuda, restaurateurs say. Despite the recession, they have not noticed an increase in people avoiding picking up their tabs. Carol West, owner of the Frog & Onion in Dockyard, said: “We had somebody run on Tuesday but it was somebody off a cruise ship. I hope it’s not becoming more common. As far as locals are concerned the answer would be no.”

Giovanni Guglielmucci, manager of Portofino in Hamilton, said Bermuda’s residents and visitors are honest.

He added: “I’ve been here many, many years and we haven’t had any real problems. I don’t see any increase in this kind of thing.”

Arthur Reilly, manager at the Robin Hood in Pembroke, said: “It’s not something we have a problem with here.

“Most of the people who come in are regulars so we know them.

Problems

“Some occasionally forget to settle their bill but come back and pay it very quickly.”

Gunter Fischbacher, manager of The Tavern by the Sea in St George’s, said: “Once in a blue moon, when it’s very busy, someone might walk out without paying but it’s very rare.

“We don’t really have any problems with that sort of thing.”

Carolyn Hart Mungal, Swizzle Inn manager, said: “Every now and again something like this happens here but rarely.

“If it does, 90 per cent of the time we get the money back. We generally know who it is and we have very attentive staff.”