SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane woman was arrested for and is accused of dining and dashing at multiple restaurants.
Leaving without paying for your meal has a big impact on the restaurants who are hit by it.
The Blackbird owner Patrick McPherson says a woman ran up a bill of more than $90 and then ditched, so he got to work to find the suspected diner.
McPherson explained something seemed strange when a woman came into the Blackbird Monday morning and ordered herself a large meal including a ribeye, an appetizer, a few drinks, and two desserts.
McPherson says she then gave the servers a story about why she couldn't pay and left.
"She said she doesn't have her purse, she just came from the gym, she's going to go get it," he recalled.
McPherson posted about the incident on his Facebook page. Turns out, Spokane's restaurant community seemed to already know all about this alleged dine and dasher.
"It was certainly the most viral thing I've ever posted," he said.
Multiple other restaurants chimed in, saying similar instances had happened to them.
"[A woman] gave us her shoes and said she'd come back and never came back," explained Brittany Shoup, a bartender at Fast Eddie's and Borracho, who believes she interacted with the suspect at Borracho.
People shared similar stories on the Facebook post: a woman ate and drank and then told the restaurants a tale about forgetting her money.
"By that time I was so busy, just running in and out orders keep coming, I go, 'you know what, just go,'" said Suki Yaki Inn owner Emiko Collett, who explained a woman matching McPherson's description dined there on Mother's Day. "If it was any other day, I would probably call the police and deal with it but that day I couldn't."
Each time it happened, the restaurants suffered financially.
"Someone has to pay for it whether it's the person whose serving [the dinner], or the company itself and with a high tab, that kind of sucks," said Shoup.
On Wednesday, someone Patrick didn't know contacted him, saying the woman in Patrick's Facebook picture was at a gym.
"I followed her down to the public library giving 911 updates as I go along with where we are," he said.
Police arrested Miranda Lynn Watson on charges of retail theft with special circumstances. On Friday afternoon, she faced a judge. In court on Friday, Watson learned she's charged with stealing from the Blackbird and the Post Street Ale House, and the state said they are concerned there is a string of these similar types of thefts that have been happening.
Patrick at Blackbird explained after going through this experience, he hopes to work with the Spokane Restaurant Association to create some sort of alert that would go out to all members when something like this happens again.
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