Busted! Scamwich Artist Unmasked by Local Restaurant Owners
The Scamwich Artist had returned to collect his bounty.
Johnson met the man at the cash register and introduced himself. The man didn't seem eager to talk, so Johnson plowed right in. "Hey, I was talking to my friends at Roxane last night," he said, adding, "Has this ever happened to you before?"
At that the man cracked like an egg at an omelet-eating contest, fumbling for his wallet and throwing credit cards onto the counter.
Johnson unsuccessfully tries to stifle a giggle. "He was saying, 'I'll pay! I'll pay!'"
"You'll pay double," Johnson says he told the man. "And you'll leave a large tip."
Johnson instructed the chastened scammer to go back to any other restaurants he'd victimized to apologize and make restitution.
"Which he never did," Johnson notes.
Before ending the encounter, Johnson had one more task to complete. "I pushed him against the wall and I took his picture with my iPhone," the restaurateur says with glee, proudly proffering the digital shot.
Kwan confirms that the man Johnson photographed is the same man who scammed her out of a sandwich. Lucas, who also saw the photo, concurs that the snapshot shows the Scamwich Artist who scurried out of Fozzie's after his plot was foiled.
The photo is of a white man, fiftyish, with wire-rimmed glasses, prominent ears, a long nose and a gray mustache that might charitably be described as Chaplinesque. He wears his black hair short. (Judging by the coif and the mismatching shade of his mustache, it might be a toupee.) He's clad in a blue-and-white-checked dress shirt and a tie.
Gut Check traced the name and phone number Johnson provided to a Mitchell J. Kerman, of Hughes Wilner & Wolfe, a Ladue accounting firm. When we called last Tuesday, an administrative assistant at the firm told us he was out. (To lunch.) We left word that we wanted to discuss a matter involving local restaurants.
When Kerman returned our call the following day, we told him that several restaurants in the St. Louis area allege that he scammed (or tried to scam) them for free food.
Does he care to comment on the allegations?
"No, I don't," he says and hangs up.
St. Louis restaurants: Do you think the Scamwich Artist got -- or tried to get -- you? Drop us a line!