OAKDALE, Calif. – A man was caught on surveillance footage sitting in front of a porterhouse steak, a lobster tail and a 20-ounce beer in a California restaurant before pocketing the hunk of meat and walking out.
"What type of person will take a steak and watch the juice drip off and then wrap it in a linen napkin?" said House of Beef lead server Denise Loya. "It’s just highly unusual."
Loya said the man dressed in a suit came into the Oakdale restaurant late Tuesday afternoon and asked for a table for four. She said he looked like a villain from an '80s movie.
"Definitely a used car salesman or bad real estate agent. Slimeball," she told KTXL.
His actions were just as animated. The video shows his eyes shifting constantly as he looks up at the surveillance camera and over his shoulder.
"Just keep your eyes on this person ‘cause his eyes, you can see him, you know, he’s watching," said the restaurant's owner, Steve Medlen.
One last look into the camera and the man picks up the slab of meat then folds it into the napkin lifted from the bread basket.
"He’s unethical," Medlen said. "He’s out to commit a crime."
Medlen said he decided to post the video on social media to catch the steak smuggler.
"The monetary part is not part of the equation," he told KTXL. "The part that we want to do is take this person off the street."
In the final moments, the man picks up his haul and walks away, all while a little girl watches in his direction.
"Be great if he would come in and pay his bill and apologize but I highly doubt that’s gonna happen," Loya said.
The staff said if he had truly been starving they would have helped.
"We always help people," Loya said. "When they come in off the streets, we will buy them a bowl of soup or a sandwich."
The staff says that was a $56 meal. The owner did file a police report with the Oakdale Police Department but no arrests had been made as of Friday afternoon.