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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City police have arrested a man accused of continually drinking and dashing. A local bartender spotted him, and when they asked him to leave, he couldn’t pay his bill.

For months bars owners across the metro said Jeffrey McCart ordered drinks, but never paid, including a bill at Headquarters in Lee’s Summit.

Co-owner Sonja Griffith said she and her husband opened their establishment to create a gathering place for first responders. She says McCart came in and used one of her customers as a distraction.

Griffith said McCart offered to buy a round of drinks for a first responder and their spouse at her bar. They left money on the counter for a tip, and when Griffith turned around she says McCart not only ran out without paying the tab, but took the money they’d left as a tip.

“To do this to servers and bartenders who are doing everything they can to try and make ends meet is completely disrespectful and disgusting as far as I’m concerned,” Griffith said.

Sunday night at Tower Tavern, bartender Jared Arnold said McCart came in and started making grand statements.

Arnold said McCart told another bartender that he worked with the Chiefs, and that Patrick Mahomes and other players would be coming to their patio to drink.

The bartender called Arnold and asked him to come in and help with the anticipated rush. When Arnold got to the bar, they both realized they’d seen this man before.

“That split second her eyes lit up, and she realized that’s the guy that everyone had been looking for,” Arnold said.

He was the man on post after post in restaurant groups on Facebook. They’d seen warnings from other bars that McCart has a history of running up a tab — and then running out the door.

Arnold said they called KCPD who told him there was nothing they could arrest him for; however, they could ask him to pay and leave the bar.

When they did this, Arnold said McCart told both him and police that he could pay the bill with a credit card in his car. Arnold said the car and the credit card never came to be, and McCourt didn’t have enough money in his wallet to pay for the two beers and four shots he ordered.

“I was pretty angry he was in my establishment for one, but I knew we had to crack down on this and get him arrested because he had been terrorizing this town,” Arnold said.

Sgt. Jake Becchina with KCPD said McCart was arrested for misdemeanor theft and released on a signature bond.

FOX4 contacted McCart for a response to his arrest and the allegations from several business owners.

“[It’s] something I regret and am seeking help for,” he said via email. “I did not have the opportunity because the police didn’t give me a chance to pay but could have later. I am an Army vet with deep issues that I unfortunately turn to alcohol to deal with, that are being addressed.”

However, Griffith said she’s heard this from McCart before.

“He initially offered, through our investigator here offered to pay his tab,” Griffith said. “Stated that he had gone to a rehabilitation center and that he was a new man. That same night, I saw he hit two other places in the city.”

“I really do hope he gets help because if not he’ll continue to do it,” Arnold said.

FOX4 found at least eight bars across the metro who believe McCart conned them. They include:

  • Headquarters in Lee’s Summit ($60)
  • Bricks in Lee’s Summit ($50)
  • The Bar in Mission ($220)
  • Hurricane Allies in Merriam ($44)
  • Danny’s in KCK ($274)
  • Twin City Tavern in KCMO ($60)
  • Coach Lite Club in KCK ($50)
  • Drum Room in KCMO ($400)

The earliest alleged theft happened June 6 with the most recent occurring this past Thursday. In all, the bars suffered a loss of nearly $1,200.

Griffith asked other bar owners who may encounter him in the future to call police and make sure to report all your losses.