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, according to KTLA sister station KTXL.
"What type of person will take a steak and watch the juice drip off and then wrap it in a linen napkin?" said Denise Loya, the lead server at House of Beef in Oakdale. "It’s just highly unusual."
Loya said the man dressed in a suit came into the 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 because his eyes, you can see him," the restaurant's owner, Steve Medlen, said. "He’s watching."
After one last look into the camera, the man picks up the slab of meat then folds it into a 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.
"(It would) 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 in need of food 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 said it 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.