Dear Philly Bars and Restaurants: If You See This Woman Coming, Lock Your Doors [UPDATED]
UPDATE 5/6/2015 1 p.m.: Janeen Thomas was arrested again on Tuesday night, this time after a meal at Vedge. For the complete update, click here.
Since we’re heading into a busy weekend, we here at Foobooz thought it would be a good time to bring you this Foobooz Public Service Announcement. The woman seen here is named Janeen Thomas. She looks like a nice enough, professional lady. And if you get the chance to talk to her, she’s very pleasant and chatty. But since February, Janeen Thomas has been arrested several times and charged with theft and related offenses. And she’s allegedly been targeting restaurants in Center City.
The latest restaurant incident occurred on Wednesday night at Chris’ Jazz Cafe at 1421 Sansom Street. Early in the evening, property belonging to a customer (me) went missing just after Thomas sat down near me. I asked around about the property, but nobody knew anything about it. Thomas was very sweet and consoled me, saying, “That’s awful that somebody would do that.”
A few minutes later, I was in the restaurant’s office, reviewing video surveillance footage, which clearly showed Thomas looking at my stuff, looking around, opening her big bag, looking around again, and then quickly sliding my stuff into her bag.
So I politely told her that she may have accidentally picked up something that wasn’t hers. She nicely said that wasn’t the case. Then I told her what I had just watched on the video, and I demanded that she open her bag. She complied and returned my property. Then I yelled at her. Loudly.
But Thomas wasn’t done making friends yet. After spending hours in the bar, eating, drinking and socializing, she told a manager that she couldn’t pay her tab because she had forgotten her wallet. He asked her to open her bag, and sure enough her wallet (well, we assume it was her wallet) was inside. But it was also pretty much empty. A couple of bucks. No credit cards.
The manager told Thomas that she needed to call someone to come and pay her check or he was going to call the police. No friends showed up to bail her out, so he made good on his threat, and the cops arrived quickly, saying at one point that Thomas is known to them.
And boy is she. As far as the criminal justice system in Philadelphia is concerned, Thomas didn’t exist until February of this year. But since then she keeps getting arrested.
She was picked up once in February and charged with theft, and that case is ongoing. Then she was arrested on March 2nd and charged with theft of services (that’s what they call it when you dine and dash.) There was a summary trial, and Thomas was ruled guilty.
Thomas was arrested again on March 12th and again charged with theft of services. That charge was withdrawn. Then came March 16th, when she was arrested and charged with theft and receiving stolen property. That case is still open.
But April was, by far, the busiest month of all for Thomas. April 1st: Arrested and charged with theft and receiving stolen property. April 7th: Arrested and charged with five counts of theft, one count of receiving stolen property, three counts of identity theft, among other charges. April 8th: Arrested and charged with theft and receiving stolen property. On April 22nd: Arrested for theft of services. Also on April 22nd: Charged with theft, receiving stolen property, identity theft and providing false identification to law enforcement. All of the April cases are ongoing, and no charges had been filed as of Friday afternoon in the Chris’ incident. Police say one of her other restaurant targets was Fado.
And just when we were talking about issuing this public service announcement on Friday, an announcement from a local bartender featuring a photo of Thomas popped up on Facebook stating, “To all my Philadelphia bartender friends this lady is a repeat dine and dasher. You were warned.”
So, Janeen. Philadelphia has your number. Move along.
Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.