A 50-year-old man with the appearance of a wealthy tourist from the east and a specialist in sitting at the table of good restaurants to enjoy succulent meals before faking a heart attack to avoid paying, better known as the 'gastrojeta' in the National Police of Alicante, has returned to the dungeons after a new arrest.

This is the twentieth arrest and consequent night in the cell for these small scams in a year in premises of the tourist area of the city of Alicante, the last one this Tuesday at 18:15 p.m. after tasting a seafood paella and two whiskey in the restaurant-tapería 'El buen comer' on Calle Mayor, in the historic center, with an unpaid account of 34.85 euros.

Although at first glance he gives the impression of being "the typical Russian tourist", he is actually a Lithuanian citizen who does not speak Spanish (he does seem to understand) and has no known address, and is known to be in Alicante since at least November 2022, when he was first arrested.

The 'gastrojeta' acts both at lunches and dinners and even when tapas, and in its history it has orders of rice and lobster or entrecôtes with common denominator to accompany them with several whiskey (always 'White Label') and usually asks for a Russian salad tapa, "which seems to like it a lot," a National Police officer who has participated in four of the arrests told EFE on Wednesday.

According to this agent of the Operational Response Group of the Alicante center police station (GOR), he wears long gray pants, a polo shirt, trekking shoes and a vest of recognized brands, and the waiters stick to him according to his appearance, assuming that he has money to spare to pay.

The manager of the restaurant 'El buen comer', Moisés Doménech, explained to EFE that this man arrived yesterday at his business and that he chose a table inside, where he asked for "seafood paella for one" and a whiskey, "which was drunk in one gulp", before ordering another double to accompany the rice.

Without having paid the bill of 34.85 euros, "he was going to leave without paying but a colleague stopped him and told him that he had the account pending", to which the 'gastrojeta' replied without being upset that he was going to go to the hotel to take the money.

By denying him to leave without paying the bill, the Lithuanian threw himself to the ground very close to the door of the street and ostensibly pretended to be indisposed but from 'El buen comer' they did not fall into the trap and called the police.

Shortly after, the 'gastrojeta' asked the agents for an ambulance but was quickly recognized by them and, after verifying that he was actually well, they handcuffed him and transferred him to the police station, in whose cells he will continue until a quick trial tomorrow.

Doménech has taken several photos of the 'gastrojeta' and has passed them to other restaurants of the Provincial Association of Hospitality (APEHA) so that he does not do his own again in the near future.

The policeman who has arrested him four times has added that the 'gastrojeta' usually "smiles" when the agents arrive, and that he never blushes or loses his tranquility, perhaps because "he goes unpunished." Always with several drinks on him, he apparently doesn't care about spending a night or two in the cell before going to the judge.

On some occasions when he is discovered he fakes a heart attack, throwing himself to the ground and putting his hand to his chest, and on others he simply waits for the police sitting with the last drink in his hand, knowing that if he tries to flee and there is a struggle he could incur a more serious crime of robbery with violence, and not for minor fraud.

He is arrested for this infraction because he has no known address to communicate to the authorities nor does he provide any bail, and eight of the arrests have been between November and December of last year and the remaining twelve so far in 2023 in the tourist areas of the Neighborhood and the Esplanade, without ruling out that the episodes of 'simpa' or not reported are many more.

In principle, it is expected that the 'gastrojeta' will have a quick trial this Thursday at 10.45 am in the Court of Instruction number 1 of the city for a minor crime of fraud.

  • Alicante
  • National Police