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Martinez restaurateur forgives customer for alleged crime

An alleged dine-and-dash incident at a local Mexican restaurant landed one woman in jail for free-loading on the main course, but this story has a sweeter ending.

According to The Jail Report, Chondrea Mayfield (see photo above story), of Grovetown, was arrested on Thursday, Jan. 20 for theft of services for allegedly leaving a restaurant without paying her bill.

Mayfield – a drill instructor at Fort Gordon – will be required to appear in court to answer to the misdemeanor charge.

The next day, Ramiro Galvan – owner of Taqueria El Rey located at 3830 Washington Road, Suite 25 in the West Town Shopping Center in Martinez – created a post on his restaurant’s Facebook page about the incident.

“I believe that we all make mistakes once or twice,” says Galvan in the post. “Well, for some of us, we have to make the same mistake more than once to learn.” He states he has met with Mayfield, who apologized to him and his employees.

Galvan explains he has forgiven her. Many of the restaurant’s Facebook followers commended him for forgiving her, while others said he was too nice to her. “You have my continued support,” says one commenter. “So many would do differently and be well within their rights, but your compassion and understanding is commendable.”

The incident all began on Tuesday, Jan. 18, when Mayfield and another woman ate at Taqueria El Rey. After dinner, Galvan says they walked out of the restaurant without paying for their meals and drinks. He states a server chased the women out to the parking lot, where Mayfield refused to pay the bill.

Ramiro Galvan – owner of Taqueria El Rey – says two women walked out of his restaurant without paying their bill on Tuesday, Jan. 18. One of the women, Chondrea Mayfield, of Grovetown, was arrested for the crime.

Galvan gave her the opportunity to come back with the money, but she didn’t, so he called the police.

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, Galvan posted a video on Facebook, which he has since removed, showing the server confronting Mayfield. “I hate doing this because I don’t know her background,” he explains in that post. “Maybe she really didn’t have the money, or she was going through a rough time.” Many commented on both his post and one created by The Jail Report on its Facebook page. “That’s going to be the most expensive meal she will likely ever eat,” one commenter states. According to a video posted to that page by publisher Greg Rickabaugh, which included the police report, Mayfield told the server, “I’m not paying that. They messed up our order.”

Local attorney J. Brian King, who has 20 years of legal experience says what makes this a criminal issue and not a civil issue is the amount of money involved. Arrests like this one are always possible during “dine and dash” situations.

The Jail Report states police are also looking for the other woman accused of the crime. If convicted of the misdemeanor charge, Mayfield faces up to one year in and a fine of up to $1,000.

King said there is another option for restaurants in aiding police for customers who walk off.

“In the future, restaurants can consider having video cameras inside to help with identification of those who do not pay,” says King.

Galvan adds when he met with Mayfield, she tried to pay the bill. “I told her it wasn’t about the money,” he says. “It was about what’s right and wrong.”

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