Maryland man gets 5 years in prison for running dozens of 'dine-and-dash' scams
'Man eating a lot of unhealthy food' [Shutterstock]

By John Clarke

ANNAPOLIS Md. (Reuters) - A Baltimore man who police say routinely scammed restaurants by eating and then faking a seizure to get out of paying his bill was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.

Andrew Palmer, 47, had defrauded dozens of restaurants, from casual to upscale, according to Baltimore Police. Court papers show that Palmer was arrested 80 times and had 40 convictions since 1985, mostly on theft-of-service counts.

His most recent offense occurred Oct. 26, 2013 at Oliver Speck's Eats and Drinks, where Palmer consumed $90 in food and beverages. When he was presented the bill, he pretended to pass out.

Paramedics responding to the call immediately recognized him, police said. On the way to the hospital, court documents said, Palmer suddenly sat up and said, "I have no money to pay for my food and beers so I was faking."

A warrant was later issued and he was arrested.

Palmer pleaded guilty to theft of less than $1,000 and causing false call for an ambulance. A judge sentenced him to 10 years in jail, and suspended five years.

"He's been more than a nuisance, to say the least," said a spokeswoman for state prosecutors in Baltimore. "Clearly he was not learning his lesson."

(Editing by Scott Malone and Dan Grebler)

Watch a report on Palmer's sentencing, as aired on WBAL-TV on Friday, below.

[Image: "Man eating a lot of unhealthy food," via Shutterstock]