Armed 'dine and dash' foiled at South Portland restaurant

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Two people were arrested July 14 and a third received a summons after they allegedly brandished weapons after trying to leave a Maine Mall-area restaurant without paying their bill.

Bryan Frank, 39, of Portland, was arrested and charged with robbery, assault, criminal threatening and misuse of a public benefits instrument. Michelle Choate, 23, of Pittson, was arrested for robbery, aggravated assault, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, and refusing to submit to arrest or detention, police said.

Emma Alexandre, 28, of Portland, was summonsed for theft of services and released from the scene.

The arrests were made around 5:30 p.m. after police were told a man armed with a hatchet and a woman with a box cutter were at the Imperial China restaurant, 220 Maine Mall Road, where they allegedly had tried to leave without paying a $40 tab. 

When confronted by employees about the attempted “dine and dash,” police said, Frank removed a hatchet from his waistband, threatened the workers and pushed one of them to the ground. Choate allegedly threatening employees with the box cutter. 

Customers from a nearby business intervened and disarmed the suspects. One of the Good Samaritans was cut in the process, police said.

Frank and Choate were being held on $25,000 cash bail at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland. 

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