Judge rules Vernon dine and dash offender must pay $240 bar tab | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Judge rules Vernon dine and dash offender must pay $240 bar tab

January 20, 2020 - 6:30 PM

A recent recruit to Vernon's homeless scene has left behind a trail of dine-and-dash victims along his way. 

John David Van Wyck, 41, has already stood up two Vernon restaurants but he was in court Jan. 20 for another dine and dash in Edmonton in 2017 before he came to the Okanagan. He racked up a $240 bar tab at the Vault Pub in Edmonton after he ordered food and booze — and rounds for other people in the bar. At 2 a.m. when the bar closed, he told the waitress he was leaving his wallet and ID on the table and he would be coming back. He didn't return and the wallet was empty.

The server had the bill docked from her wages.

Judge Mark Takahashi said it was clear Van Wyck had “no intention” of paying the bar bill and skipping out on the tab caused the server considerable anguish.

The court heard Van Wyck moved to Vernon two years ago and since been convicted twice for dining and dashing in Vernon.

Along with the dine and dash charge, Van Wyck also pled guilty to theft of $50 of gas and breaching an earlier probation order.

Defence lawyer Nicholas Jacob said Van Wyck was homeless since moving to Vernon and is currently living at the Gateway Shelter.

Van Wyck, who has a tattoo of a skeleton across half of his face, spoke only to tell the judge he could not remember the last time he worked.

Jacob said his client had memory issues and the lawyer had not been able to find out many details of his past. Jacob said the crimes came about as Van Wyck was living in poverty and struggled with addiction issues, although added his client was relatively stable and had been sober for three weeks.

The Crown asked for a $1,000 fine, three days jail time, six months probation, plus a restitution order of $240 to be paid to the server.

Judge Takahashi said while the $1,000 fine was “not unreasonable” Van Wyck could not afford it and dropped the fine to $100. Van Wyck was sentenced to six months probation and ordered to do 15 hours community service.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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