Boston Celebrity Chef Chases Down Dine-and-Dasher - NBC Boston

Boston Celebrity Chef Chases Down Dine-and-Dasher

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    A celebrity chef in Boston took matters into his own hands when a customer tried to leave his restaurant without paying his bill -- for the second time. (Published Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015)

    A celebrity chef in Boston took matters into his own hands when a customer tried to leave his restaurant without paying his bill.

    Jason Santos, who has appeared on the television show "Hell's Kitchen," ended up in the middle of a caper fit for reality TV in his own restaurant, Abby Lane.

    Santos, the owner and chef at the restaurant in the Theater District, was alerted by bartender Lyndsay Pingel that a patron had skipped out on a tab before - so they kept their eye on him.

    "Stealing is stealing to me," said Santos.

    "I've seen him before, going back five years at separate restaurants," said Pingel. "He's pretty notorious, I think, in the area."

    So the staff asked him for his credit card.

    "He started to give us a song and dance about why he didn't have money, didn't have his wallet." said Santos. "So obviously, I knew something was up."

    The customer took off, and the chef chased.

    "I followed him, and it started getting faster, faster, faster, and finally, we were running," said Santos. "Luckily, the police came shortly after a sprint."

    The chase ended up on Boylston Street after 15 minutes of walking and running in circles.

    Boston Police tell necn the customer was intoxicated, slurring his speech and yelling.

    Santos, who took a photo of the man while he was being questioned, says this was about more than the $19 tab.

    "Honestly, for me, number one was to protect my staff. You know, that's not OK, they lose money, the restaurant loses money," said Santos. "And it's principle. I'm a big, big principle guy. I mean, if it was 50 cents, I would have done the same thing."

    Police say the customer was charged with disorderly conduct and defrauding an innkeeper - commonly referred to as dining and dashing.