College students arrested for not paying tip

Posted: November 19, 2009

It was an evening out that college students Leslie Pope and John Wagner will long remember.

Not only did they get what they called lousy service, they got handcuffed and arrested.

All over a $16.35 tip.

They were with a half-dozen friends at the Lehigh Pub in Bethlehem last month, so the establishment tacked what it called a mandatory 18 percent gratuity onto the bill of about $73, according to reports.

Pope and Wagner refused to pay.

"You can't give us terrible, terrible service and expect a tip," said Pope, a 22-year-old Moravian College senior who's a Pottsville native, according to the Lehigh Valley Express-Times.

They had to find their own napkins and cutlery while their waitress caught a smoke, had to ask the bar for soda refills, and had to wait over an hour for salad and wings, they told NBC10.

The pub, which was very busy that night, took the $73, but then called the cops, who treated the matter as a theft.

The menu clearly states, "18 percent gratuity added to check of parties of 6 of more," and a similar message is printed on receipts, a pub employee said this morning.

A court date is scheduled for next month.

What would they do if it happened again? a reporter asked.

"Honestly, probably gonna pay the tip anyway," said Pope, prompting Wagner, 24, a Lehigh University grad student, to laugh.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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