An Italian tourist looking for a traditional meal at an upscale New York steakhouse found himself thrown in jail when he forgot his wallet and was unable to pay the bill.
Graziano Graziussi, a 43-year-old lawyer from Naples, Italy, was arrested and held at New York’s 17th precinct on Monday night on charges of theft of services, according to New York police. Earlier in the evening he had racked up a bill totaling $208.77 at Smith & Wollensky, a steakhouse in Manhattan’s Turtle Bay neighborhood.
“The moment the check arrived, I realized that I had actually forgotten my wallet at my hotel,” Graziussi told Honest Cooking. “So I kindly asked the staff how we could manage the situation. I proposed to leave my iPhone with them, run back to the hotel and then come back with my wallet in 15 minutes.”
The management wasn’t having any of it, and called the police. A surprised Graziussi even asked if he could have an escort uptown. The NYPD’s response, according to Graziussi? We’re not a taxi service.
After spending a night in jail, Graziussi said that a judge dismissed the case against him, but he had to promise to show up in court to pay the bill next week.
Smith & Wollensky’s parent company, Fourth Wall Restaurants, released a statement to ABC News, saying that it does not contact the police in any matter involving our customers without significant cause.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly commented on the situation in his press conference on Saturday.
“The 43-year-old lawyer from Naples did have a wallet with $118, but refused to hand it over,” he said. “Graziussi claimed not to speak English, but a patrol supervisor who responded to the scene was fluent in Italian and was able to translate. He conducted the interview and determined that the individual simply did not want to pay.”