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Man gets three years for failing to pay $70 restaurant bill

June 14, 2013 at 11:49 AM

MATTOON, Ill., June 14 (UPI) -- A man who racked up a $70 bill at an Illinois restaurant before telling servers he couldn't pay was sentenced to three years in jail.

Prosecutors said Anthony Malabehar, 47, had only been out of jail from a 60-day sentence for a similar crime when he ordered a $70 meal at the Alamo Steak House in Mattoon and later told the server he wouldn't be paying, CNN reported Friday.

"He told her with a smile on his face, 'I need to tell you a secret -- I don't have any money,'" Alamo general manager Alex Schmink said.

Coles County Assistant State's Attorney Rob Scales said Malabehar served a 60-day sentence for dining at another restaurant in February before telling the server he wouldn't be able to pay his $100 tab.

Malabehar has at least 13 prior convictions for theft or burglary and around 70 prior arrests on theft charges.

Scales said the sentence was longer than usual because of Malabehar's previous criminal record. He said Malabehar could be eligible for release in a year if he receives time-reduction credits.

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