(UPDATED) Steakhouse Crime – Italian Tourist Jailed for Forgetting Wallet
Italian tourist Graziano Graziussi was arrested at New York steakhouse Smith & Wollensky monday night, after forgetting his wallet at his hotel.
By Kalle Bergman
It was supposed to be a good evening for Italian tourist Graziano Graziussi. On his second night of a two week holiday in New York City, he had planned a nice dinner with a friend and perhaps a late night stroll through the city. Instead, he ended up in jail – arrested for forgetting his wallet at his hotel.
Mr Graziussi and his friend went to upscale steakhouse Smith & Wollensky, where a rib eye steak costs 50 dollars. Dinner went well, until it was time to pay the bill. “- The moment the check arrived, I realized that I had actually forgotten my wallet at my hotel,” says Mr Graziussi, “so I kindly asked the staff how we could manage the situation. I proposed to leave my iPhone with them, run back to the hotel and then come back with my wallet in 15 minutes.”
The maître d at Smith & Wollensky would hear nothing of such a deal. Instead, the restaurant instantly called the Police. “- I wasn’t worried. I thought that the Police would laugh at the situation and let me go get my wallet,” says Mr Graziussi. “But, they were pretty rough”, he continues, “they handcuffed me outside the restaurant and took me straight to jail like a criminal.”
“- Jail was horrible, jail is horrible for anybody, you’re behind bars, you are treated like an animal, for forgetting your wallet,” Mr Graziussi says.
The next morning, a judge dismissed the case against Mr Graziussi, but he had to promise to show up in court to pay the bill next week. Mr Graziussi says he will of course pay, something he intended all along, but he is very disappointed with how Smith & Wollensky handled the situation. “- I would have expected an upscale place like Smith & Wollensky to behave a bit more corteous to their customers. This really could happen to anybody, and it was an honest mistake, but they didn’t care,” says Mr Graziussi.
Honest Cooking has tried to get in touch with Smith & Wollensky and its owners at Fourth Wall Restaurants. They have so far declined to comment on the incident.
As for Mr Graziussi, he will never forget his wallet again while in New York. If you are heading to Smith & Wollensky anytime soon, you too should probably double check that you have yours with you, unless you want to spend a night at a much less fancy establishment.
UPDATED JANUARY 25th, 5.59pm
After this story, first told by Honest Cooking, was picked up by mainstream media, Smith & Wollensky issued the following statement:
We have been in business in New York City for over 35 years and normally, it is our policy to maintain our guests’ privacy on all matters. We do not contact the police in any matter involving our customers without significant cause. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly commented on the situation in his press conference this afternoon:
“Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the 43-year-old lawyer from Naples did have a wallet with $118, but refused to hand it over. Graziussi claimed not to speak English, but a patrol supervisor who responded to the scene was fluent in Italian and was able to translate. He conducted the interview and determined that the individual simply did not want to pay.”
Originally Published: January 24, 2013