Oceanfront restaurant owners on the lookout for scammer

Posted at 5:18 PM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 19:52:28-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Surveillance video shows the man that oceanfront restaurant owners are searching for.

"If you're in the community, and you're tainting it, that's just a complete violation for everything we stand for," Zeke's Beans and Bowl's owner, Nick Petriccione told News 3.

Petriccione says the man came into his oceanfront location and demanded money. He says the man told the barista they sent him home with a meal that contained onions, a food he claimed to be allergic to.

In the surveillance video, you can see him talking to the barista, and he begins leaning over the counter.

"He started getting really impatient. He's a larger gentleman, so he started leaning on the counter and imposing a little more than necessary," Petriccione said.

After the man got agitated, the barista eventually gave him the cash just to get him out of the store, even though the man couldn't prove the purchase.

When Petriccione heard what happened, it jogged his memory from a few months earlier. He said the same man called the Zeke's Norfolk location with the same story.

"Being the owner, I had the liberty of telling to beat it. I'm not refunding money if you're not going to give me all the info I need to take care of the transaction," he said.

So, they took to Facebook to warn other local businesses.

Turns out, nearby restaurants have seen him before.

A few blocks over, The Stockpot restaurant made a Facebook post saying they too encountered him, and he had the same story.

"You feel violated. All we are trying to do is take care of friends and family, and just get people some good food. And [he's] going to take advantage of that," he added.

And to Petriccione, the cash doesn't even matter.

"It's not about the $37-40. It's just like, dude, you're in this community. Be a contributing part of it, and stop stealing for your neighbors," he told News 3.

He also has a message for the man in the video...

"Get a job, dude. Stop stealing from people."

If you know anything about what happened, call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.