A Facebook post shows an unknown man who allegedly has been walking out on bills at Calgary restaurants and pubs and allegedly been stealing items. Calgary Police are investigating.
He’s in town for jury duty, his fiancée just died and it’s his birthday.These are just a few of the stories used by a con man who has been frequenting restaurants all over Calgary, but according to wait staff, he’s lying through his unusually large moustache.In each case, the man — who usually gives the name Michael McDonald — has been walking out on his bill.In Kelly Mandeville’s case, he left with her phone as he was leaving her co-workers with the tab.She ended up seated next to him at Cannibale, where she also happens to work, on the evening of June 6.“I was sitting right beside him,” she said. “I talked to him for about 40 minutes. I asked him a bunch of questions just to get to know him a bit.”She said at one point in the evening, he got up to use the bathroom and never returned. Mandeville soon realized her phone had gone missing around the same time he left.Mandeville wasn’t able to track her phone because it had been turned off, so she reached out to Calgary police.He had quite the robust moustache.Desirae Kozak“I filed a police report right away because I work there and I wanted to make sure it was on the record that he hadn’t paid his bill — because we have to pay for it.”A spokeswoman for Calgary police confirmed the service has received at least two reports of the man from Calgary restaurants, but Mandeville has a list of at least eight businesses hit by the moustachioed freeloader.She said after she shared a post on social media, it blew up. It even spurred the creation of the Twitter hashtag #FindMichaelMcDonald.“I keep getting messages from other business owners and other service staff in the city who say the same thing has happened to them,” said Mandeville.“He seems to always have roses with him for some reason — he didn’t when I met him.”Desirae Kozak, assistant general manager at another affected restaurant, said she was working when he came in mid-afternoon late last week.She said right away he stood out because of his clothing, which she described as “full-on cowboy mode,” but also very clean and neat.“He had quite the robust moustache,” said Kozak.He started off at a table for four, waiting for friends who were coming to celebrate his birthday. After a time he moved to the bar, all the while making small talk with staff.“He chatted me up a little bit about my tattoos, just making conversation — very personable,” she said.At some point, he went outside to smoke, which he had done several times, and didn’t return.
Kelly Mandeville shared this post of the man she says walked off with her phone while skipping out on the bill at a restaurant.
He left a phone behind, but that turned out to be someone else’s.Kozak said she couldn’t remember the exact amount of the bill, but it was hefty.“It was for sure over $100,” said Kozak. “Every once in a while we’re left with smaller bills, but this was pretty substantial.”She said since the incident, another manager at the restaurant went to nearby businesses to warn them about ‘Michael.’Apparently, it hasn’t stopped him. On Wednesday evening, he struck at 1600 World Bier Haus at Glenmore Landing. The pub posted a photo of “Mike” with two of their staff members on its Facebook page, wishing him a happy birthday.Multiple people replied to the post with warnings, but only after he’d left.“He walked out on his bill last night after our staff treated him amazing,” read a followup post from the restaurant. “He told us that his fiancé had died, his parents both had died and that he was stood up for his birthday. What is wrong with people?”World Bier Haus co-owner Joanna Andreopoulos said “Mike” handed out his trademark flowers to staff after they took steps to cheer up the customer, who claimed he was alone on his birthday.She said she tries to teach her staff that they are more than servers — they are there to make someone’s day better, and they were disappointed to find out they had been used.“It broke the hearts of my staff,” she said.