Should small business owners resort to viral vigilantism online to settle petty crimes?
A Nevada man without the funds to finance his social life will certainly live to regret a recent night out at Reno restaurant, who then used the medium to nab him when he dine and dashed. Saul Zelaznog, who also goes by Saul Gonzalez, was out at an local establishment called Brewer’s Cabinet and ditched the one-hundred dollar tab after it was presented to him.
It turns out, he’d been feeding and fleeing at multiple spots across the region. But Brewer’s Cabinet was not content to to suffer the loss, and the restaurant took to social media to make it right. The bar called goner Gonzalez out on Facebook, warning other local haunts to keep their eyes peeled for the hot-heeled patron.
According to Mashable, “The Facebook post, which featured a photo of Zelaznog [below], went viral, attracting hundreds of comments, including anecdotes from other restaurants sharing their own experiences with the dine-and-dasher.”
“Eating in a restaurant and leaving without paying the tab — known in police terminology as “theft of service” — rose almost 20 percent since the recession hit in 2008,” according to Finance Fox.
Enjoying his meal and then claiming he’d forgotten his wallet at home was Zelaznog’s preferred method of hustling his various hits, according to reports. When he was eventually detained and arrested, it wasn’t only because of his bar tab, it was because he’d violated his probation. To try to set the record straight, Zelaznog did tell the Reno Gazette-Journal that he intended to pay the check at Brewer’s Cabinet, and had recently asked his family to wire him money to cover it.
The economic downturn in the U.S. has ushered in a new era of dine and dash, where the culprits are less likely to be kids pulling a prank and are instead adults simply not footing the bill, often after a lofty evening out. “Eating in a restaurant and leaving without paying the tab — known in police terminology as “theft of service” — rose almost 20 percent since the recession hit in 2008,” according to Finance Fox. “Unlike teenagers who make a run for the door when they realize their allowance won’t cover the slice of pizza, the older crowd is more calculated and deliberate.”
Since Brewer’s Cabinet used Facebook so efficiently and dine and dash is on the rise, do you think more businesses will post pics of consumers who pull shifty shenanigans? — Casandra Armour