Police: Bumbling bandit tries, fails to lead mass 'dine and dash'

SEATTLE -- Police say a "bumbling bandit" attempted to rob a restaurant Thursday night using a flash light, and when that failed he tried to rally customers to join him in a mass "dine and dash."

The odd -- and unsuccessful -- crime spree began at about 8 p.m. inside a restaurant in the 600 block of 5th Avenue South. Police say the 40-year old robber walked into the restaurant, flashed a long, metal object -- which turned out to be a flashlight -- and demanded all the money in the cash register.

Instead of giving him money from the till, the employees welcomed the man to take the tip jar, which was stuffed with about $15 in bills and change, according to police.

The thief took them up on the offer, and then attempted to rob several customers inside the restaurant. Police say all the customers declined to hand anything over to the robber, so the man decided to take a different tack.

Police say he attempted to rally an apparent "mass dine-and-dash, informing patrons he was 'there to help' them flee the restaurant."

None of the customers took him up on the offer, at which point the suspect decided to leave. After attempting to exit from a locked door that he couldn't open, the man kicked an employee and left through a different door, according to police.

The man then walked to a nearby parking lot and tried to swipe the car keys from a woman's hand. He ran off when the woman took out her cell phone and began filming him, according to police.

Despite his lack of success, the alleged crook's wild night wasn't quite over.

Police say the man walked across the street and tried to carjack a man at a gas station. The man apparently refused to be carjack, but did offer to give the robber a ride. He declined, and instead went into the grocery store, used some of his tip money to buy a cool beverage, and sat down behind the station to formulate his next plan.

That's where police found him a few minutes later. Officers say he admitted to holding up the restaurant with a flashlight, but claimed he only entered the business after hearing screams from inside.

Officers arrested the man and booked him into King County Jail for investigation of robbery.