It’s time to bid adieu to one of my favorite local minor league criminals, the dude who would go to fancy Baltimore restaurants, rack up a hefty bill, and then fake a seizure to get out of it. The guy has been doing this for years.
So how do you repeatedly, brazenly get away with something like this? Well, our dine and dasher (Andrew Palmer) never ran out on a bill over $100. And legally, the maximum penalty for theft under $100 carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail — a sentence Palmer served many, many times over. “I said, ‘We have to get this guy more than 90 days. That just doesn’t faze him,’ ” Assistant State’s Attorney Scott Richman told the Baltimore Sun. Since 1985, Palmer has been arrested more than 80 times, and convicted more than 40.
Finally, after Palmer fake-passed out to avoid a $89 bill at the now-closed Oliver Speck’s, prosecutors charged him with theft under $1,000. Here’s how the Sun explains the charge:
Of course, $89 is under both $100 and $1,000, but defense attorney and former prosecutor Warren Alperstein, who is not involved with the cases, said there is a principle in the law called “specific over general” that calls for the charges to fit the allegations as closely as possible.
“You have to charge the most specific statute that applies,” Alperstein said.
The first judge threw out the new charge, but the district judge allowed the charges to stand, and in fact charged Palmer with three counts of it. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison, plus a five-year suspended sentence if he repeats his bad behavior during his three years of supervised probation. It sounds like this really may be the end of our dine-and-dasher… or maybe just a minor hiatus.
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