UPDATE 5/7/2015 12:30 p.m.: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has announced that Thomas has been charged with theft of services for the Tuesday night incident at Vedge. Thomas remains in custody in lieu of $35,000 bail, of which she needs to pay ten-percent.
The strange, sad tale of Philadelphia restaurant thief Janeen Thomas continued on Tuesday night with her being arrested after she dined at Vedge, the popular vegan restaurant on the 1200 block of Locust Street in Philadelphia. This photo was taken by a bystander as police were taking her into custody. According to the Philadelphia Police Department, charges against Thomas are pending.
We first told you about Thomas on Friday, when we reported that she had a string of arrests since February for theft and that she had been targeting restaurants in Center City, including Chris’ Jazz Cafe and Fado. In some cases, she’s been accused of walking out without paying her check or simply explaining that she couldn’t pay it, after running up a large tab.
We spoke with a manager at Vedge, who agreed, with a condition of anonymity, to recount the events of Tuesday night.
According to the manager, Thomas arrived at Vedge shortly after 7 p.m. “Immediately, one of the bartenders recognized her as possibly being the woman from the story and alerted me,” says the manager. “We made the decision that we weren’t going to deny her service, because we weren’t absolutely sure it was her, and we didn’t want to create an embarrassing situation unnecessarily.”
Management kept a careful eye from afar on Thomas, whom they say was extremely friendly and pleasant to the staff. She ordered a Long Island iced tea and then a plate of scrambled ramps with a ramp pancake. As the food came, she ordered another Long Island iced tea. And finally, she ordered a third Long Island iced tea, telling the bartender that she was going outside to catch a smoke while it was being prepared.
The manager we spoke to went outside after her. Thomas lit up a cigarette. And then, says the manager, she began walking down the street.
“I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt,” he says. “And so I actually waited for her to cross the block, and then I approached her and said, ‘Excuse me, but I think you may have forgotten to pay for the bill.'”
He says that he spoke with her for about 30 minutes, trying to get her to find someone who would come pay her check. “I was really hoping that she would just come up with the money,” he insists. “I just wanted to get paid for the meal. I remained really nice. But once it became clear that she wasn’t going to be able to pay, I gave the nod to another manager to call the police.”
The police arrived and asked the manager if he wanted Thomas arrested immediately or if he wanted to wait to see if someone would show up to pay the $54 she owed. Trying to work with Thomas, he agreed to wait for a bit.
But then another cop showed up and changed the course of the evening for Thomas.
“He recognized her immediately,” says the manager. “He pulled up your article, showed it to all of the other police officers, and then called in to the station. The way it was first presented was, You have the right to press charges for a citation. And then all of a sudden it was, No, we’re making the decision. And they arrested her.”
The manager says that he believes there is something “not quite right” about Thomas, and concerns have been raised elsewhere about her circumstances and well-being. We here at Foobooz sincerely hope that she gets whatever help she needs.
And that she stays the hell out of our restaurants.
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