, Gloucester, MA

June 12, 2013

Alleged dining scofflaw nabbed at Azorean

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — A man who has sampled many of Gloucester’s restaurants then ducked out before paying his bills was arrested in a final fiasco at Azorean Sunday night.

Steven Davis, 50, had allegedly left Tom Shea’s in Essex without paying the tab, hopped into a taxi cab for an unpaid trip to Azorean in Gloucester, then downed a drink at Azorean without paying up before police arrived about 10 p.m. and ended the spree with his arrest. This came after a 7:30 p.m. trip to Short & Main the same day, a restaurant not far from his Main Street home.

Matt Cawley, a co-owner at Short & Main, called Davis an “anomaly.” Davis had wracked up a nearly $100 bill at the restaurant, eating half dozen oysters, a pizza, two glasses of wine and two cocktails at the restaurant.

“He was very talkative and talked to all of us. He told us how much he loved everything and that he was going to write about us on his blog, on his famous blog,” Cawley said.

Cawley said one of his employees recognized Davis as one to frequently exit before payment, and four of the employees at the busy restaurant kept an eye on Davis, but he still escaped with an unpaid tab.

“We were all kind of waiting for him to make a move and he still slipped out,” Cawley said.

Cawley called the police as Davis ran down to Cape Ann Brewing Company, called a town car, and hitched a ride to Tom Shea’s in Essex, where he guzzled down another $60 in food and drinks. The driver took Davis back to Gloucester for a $6.75 drink at Azorean, and was waiting outside for Davis to pay the $150 cab fare when police arrived.

Davis was formally charged with defrauding a common victualler, leaving the premises without paying, disorderly person, resisting arrest and taxi fare evading.

Scott Merchant, the Lincoln Town Car driver who drove Davis to Tom Shea’s, waited outside, and drove him back to Gloucester, would have earned 40 percent of the $150 fare, with the remaining percentage going to his company Gloucester Taxi & Livery Service. Merchant said though Davis initially promised a 50 percent tip, the entire fare went unpaid and Merchant was tied up for a large portion of his work day.

“It really ruined my day actually,” Merchant said. “I spent over three hours dealing with him. My income for the day was drastically affected.”

As officers arrested Davis, he allegedly became “combative” and “uncooperative,” flailing his arms and saying too that police were harassing him “because he is black and gay,” according to police.

Davis had become familiar to police as a man who would frequent various Gloucester restaurants, including Latitude 43 and Topside Grill & Pub, and Alchemy, allegedly dining and dashing. Sometimes Davis would claim illness and rush out of establishments, other times he slipped out silently or told restaurateurs he had no money to pay the bill.

Police said Davis was loudly swearing and refused to get into the cruiser once officers secured him in handcuffs Sunday. Officers later pulled Davis out of the cruiser as he allegedly refused to exit the vehicle at the station. Davis did not cooperate long enough to be booked, and punched the cell door for “several minutes” with a hand he had told police was fractured.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at