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Police: After Man Skipped Out on Clarendon Restaurant Tab, Bystanders Stopped Him

A dine-and-dash in Clarendon turned violent this week after police say a man tried to run out on his bill and assaulted an employee who confronted him.

Police say they were responded to a call along the 3100 block of Clarendon Blvd at 8:52 p.m Tuesday, after a patron allegedly left the establishment without paying. The block is home to popular bars including Mister Day’s, Bar Bao and Pamplona.

Police believe the customer struck a restaurant employee in the face before attempting to flee the scene. But when he tried to take off, bystanders stopped him, and held him, until officers arrived.

Police identified the man as 28-year-old Arlington resident John Strittmatter.

Strittmatter was charged with malicious wounding, a crime punishable by five to 20 years in prison and a fine of to $100,000, according to the Virginia criminal code.

Police also charged him with “defrauding an innkeeper,” which is Virginia legalese for leaving unpaid bills and is a non-jailable offense, but may carry a fine depending on the size of the unpaid bill.

Full details from the county crime report:

MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-03050244, 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 8:52 p.m. on March 5, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny in progress. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect left a restaurant without paying his bill. When confronted, the suspect allegedly struck an employee in the face before fleeing the scene on foot. Additional citizens detained the suspect until police arrived. John Strittmatter, 28, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding and Defrauding an Innkeeper.

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