A scrawled and misspelled note could be the key to tracking down a group of Irish ‘gypsies’ who have been ripping off businesses across Brisbane.
A group of mothers and their unruly children have allegedly been scamming restaurants by planting shards of glass in their food and then refusing to pay for their expensive meals and wine.
One canny restaurant manager convinced the women to leave their details with him after sensing he was being scammed.
Mido Nassif, who works at Wilson’s seafood restaurant, asked the women for their contact details on the pretense of wanting to later check if they were OK.
One woman then wrote a note with the name ‘Jenny’ above a UK address and phone number.
The note said they were staying ‘In Birisborin’ (Brisbane) at a ‘Hilton Hotel’.
A group of Irish mothers (pictured) have allegedly been ripping off Brisbane restaurants by planting shards of glass in their food and refusing to pay for their meals
One of the women gave a note (pictured) to a restaurant after claiming to find glass in a meal
Mr Nassif told Daily Mail Australia that the group of Irish travellers had tried to rip him off three weeks ago when they claimed to ‘find a piece of glass in their food’ and ‘pretended to cry’.
The manager said the two women – who were dressed like they were ‘going to a nightclub’ – ordered the restaurant’s most expensive meals costing $48 and $65 as well as bottles of wine before pulling their glass shard stunt.
When Daily Mail Australia contacted the provided phone number, it was out of range.
Mr Nassif said he had offered to call an ambulance for the women but they weren’t interested and instead left without paying their $260 bill.
‘I saw the piece of glass, it was thick… I told her we don’t use any glass in our kitchen at all and our wine and service glasses are not that thick,’ he said.
Queensland Police are now investigating. No charges have been laid so far.
Several other restaurants and even supermarkets across Brisbane have complained about the same group in recent weeks.
One manager, who asked not be named, told Daily Mail Australia: ‘They used to come into my work place and order food and drinks. They would let the kids run riot in the restaurant and knock drinks over to get free ones.
‘They would leave kids alone in the pub while they played pokies or went for a smoke
‘The men would come in late at night to drink and would have a kid sit at the bar with them. When we asked for his id they’d claim he was 27 and had a muscle disorder and that we were offending him by asking for ID, claiming that he had shown ID already.
‘Eventually we refused to serve them and haven’t seen them since.’
He added: ‘The women were glammed up with designer handbags, lots of jewellery and short shorts. The men were usually wearing shorts and polo shirts.’
Pictured is a shard of glass an Irish mother claimed to have found in her meal at Bird’s Nest Restaurant
Similarly, a supermarket staff member told Daily Mail Australia Irish women tried to rip off the chain store at least four times in one week.
The worker, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the women came through her register while three children ran around the store, barefoot as they ate chocolates.
‘They were extremely rude and claimed they had purchased off meat and demanded we gave them free replacements,’ the worker said.
‘Whilst this was happening their children were running around, taking chocolate off the shelves and eating it without paying.
‘They also came in a separate time and put stuff in the bottom of their pram and walked out without paying for it.’
The owner of the Bird’s Nest restaurant, Marie Yokoyama, 33, warned those in the hospitality industry to keep an eye out for the women after they allegedly pulled the scam at her Japanese bar last week, making off with around $200 worth of free food and alcohol.
Owner of Birds Nest Restaurant (pictured) Marie Yokoyama, 33, has warned those in the hospitality industry to keep an eye out for the women
‘Warning to all restaurant owners in Brisbane,’ Ms Yokoyama posted on Facebook.
‘There are a group of fraudster Irish girls going around Brisbane claiming they find glass in their food and then demanding everything for free.’
Ms Yokoyama told Daily Mail Australia four women – holding designer Louis Vuitton handbags – walked into her Japanese restaurant with their children ten minutes before they finished lunch service at 2.50pm on February 26.
‘We were about to shut when they [women] walked in the door. They ordered wine and went outside to smoke while their children ran around the restaurant,’ she said.
Ms Yokoyama said while the women were eating, one spat her food out into a tissue.
‘Half way through the meal one lady started screaming that there was glass in her meal and that her mouth was bleeding. I believed her and then asked to see the glass.’
After claiming to have found glass in their food, Ms Yokoyama said the women became aggressive. ‘I was terrified,’ she said.
Ms Yokoyama cleared their table and told the women they wouldn’t have to pay for anything. But then the group ordered another round of drinks.
At least three restaurants in the area, claim they were scammed by the same group
‘Two of them even poured lemonade into their wine and then said it tasted funny,’ Ms Yokoyama said.
After the group refused to leave Ms Yokoyama had to call in help from the bar next door.
But Ms Yokoyama said the glass could not have come from her restaurant and at some point there was a ‘switcheroo’ between the woman who spat out her food and the woman who pulled out the glass.
On Tuesday she took to Facebook for answers.
‘Upon inspection I knew that this had not come from our restaurant but they were relentless. We don’t have any thick glass of this sort in the restaurant. I was so scared and terrified of them that I made their meals and drinks free,’ she said.
Other restaurant claims to have been scammed by the same group of Irish mothers
She was then contacted by at least three restaurants in the area, claiming they were scammed by the same group.
‘The same thing happened to us about a month ago. We were going crazy trying to understand how a piece of glass (which also had no resemblance to any of our glasses) could find its way into a pasta,’ one restaurateur wrote.
‘Then the girls say they have to go to hospital because she’s pregnant and worried for the baby although she’s had a bottle of wine to herself. So glad to have closure that it was completely a scam.’
Another, who managed to get a picture of the women, said: ‘These Irish girls came in, ordered oysters, steaks, prawns and then tried to make out they’d found glass in their meal and refused to pay.
‘They had strong Irish accents and lots of makeup, revealing clothes and carried Louis Vuitton handbags.’
Ms Yokoyama informed police of the incident at Bird’s Nest Restaurant. Any businesses who have fallen victim of similar offences have been urged to contact police.