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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Man Fakes Heart Attack to Avoid Paying the Bill at 20 Restaurants

A Lithuanian man has been arrested in Spain after allegedly faking heart attacks at 20 restaurants around the country in order to avoid paying the bill.

The unnamed 50-year-old man reportedly scammed at least 20 eateries, the majority of them in Spain’s Costa Blanca region, by theatrically faking a heart attack. After ordering food and drinks, he would put on an outrageous theatrical performance, clutching his chest and pretending to faint on the floor. The scam worked like a charm until one establishment owner saw right through the man’s act and started other local restaurants photos of him warning them not to fall for his heart-attack routine.

Photo: Ashkan Forouzani/Unsplash

Last month, the Lithuanian man was at El Buen Comer, a restaurant in Alicante, enjoying some seafood paella and a few shots of whisky when the staff brought him the bill for 34.85 euros ($37). When the waiter left the table, he just got up and tried to leave, but he was stopped and notified that he still had to cover the bill. Visibly upset, the scammer said he was going to get the money from his hotel room, but the staff didn’t let him leave. It was at this point that he started faking a heart attack.

“It was very theatrical, he pretended to faint and slumped himself down on the floor,” the manager of El Buen Comer said. “We have sent his photo around to all the restaurants to try and stop him from striking again.”

The restaurant staff didn’t fall for the theatrical performance, and instead of calling an ambulance, they notified the police. When the officers arrived at the scene, the seemingly ill man called for medical assistance, but what he didn’t realize was that the policemen had already recognized him from run-ins at other restaurants in Alicante.

According to Spanish media, the 50-year-old man is already somewhat notorious among restaurant owners in Costa Blanca. He was first spotted in Alicante in November of 2022 and has since become famous for his heart attack routine. He gets away with skipping the bill most of the time, but it doesn’t seem to bother him if the police get involved. He always smiles when he sees them, probably because he knows there isn’t a lot they can do to stop him, and doesn’t mind spending a night or two in jail before resuming his scamming routine.


After having tricked dozens of restauranteurs with his fake heart attacks, the scammer may face his biggest challenge yet. Because the bills he usually tries to skip are relatively small – a few tens of euros – his crimes are considered minor, so the repercussions reflect that. Most of the time, he just spends a night behind bars, which he appears to be fine with. However, a number of restaurant owners plan to team up and file a joint complaint which could land the man up to two years in jail.

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