Serial ‘dine-and-dash’ dater facing 10 felony charges
Marjorie Moon’s date with Paul Guadalupe Gonzales at a swanky restaurant in Los Angeles in 2016 was going fine. That is, until the moment he disappeared from it.
Gonzales was charming at first, if not a little fawning, Moon said. She met him online through the dating site Plenty of Fish and hit it off, swapping pictures of their kids and sharing their appreciation for good food. On their first date, she realized he wasn’t kidding: Gonzales ordered two entrees — a chicken dish and four lobster tails, she said. He ordered expensive wine and then a soufflé for dessert.
And then, he told her he had to go make a phone call. Moon thought he was on the call for a long time, and asked her waiter if he had he seen her date.
Yes, the waiter said. Her date left. “I couldn’t believe it,” Moon told The Washington Post. “I just handed (the waiter) my credit card and said, ‘I just want to go home’ — US$250 later, I was out the door.”
Moon is one at least eight known women who allegedly ended up footing the bill after police say Gonzales, 45, invited them out to dinner via online dating then ditched them before the meal was over, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said Monday. Gonzales, known as the “serial dine-and-dasher” in local media, was arrested this week on 10 felony charges in connection with his alleged awful dating etiquette between May 2016 and April 2018. In addition to the eight women, two restaurants are also listed as victims because they picked up the tab.
Gonzales has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of extortion, two counts of attempted extortion and one count of grand theft, accused of cheating his dates out of more than $950. He faces a maximum penalty of 13 years in prison, the district attorney’s office said.
It was always the same pattern for Gonzales, according to police: a lavish, expensive meal, followed by an excuse to leave the table and, ultimately, disappear. Sometimes, his aunt was really sick, CBS Los Angeles reported. Sometimes, he left his phone charger in his car and really needed to go get it. Sometimes, he had to go to the bathroom.