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Woman Gets Felony for Dine-and-Dashing on Chalupa She Found Not Chalupa-y Enough

Jennifer Culver said she wasn't paying for "that [expletive]," according to court records.

by Jelisa Castrodale
Oct 2 2019, 6:55pm

Photo: Getty Images

There are three Mexican restaurants in Huntington, Indiana, possibly four, depending on how you'd classify the Taco Bell. Two of those joints—and the Taco Bell—are huddled together, all within a half-mile of the Walmart Supercenter. The other one, Los Amigos, is almost three miles away, on the south side of Jefferson Street.

The three non-Bells all have menus stacked with pretty standard Mexican entrees: tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and all three of them have a special called the Speedy Gonzales. But it's probably safe to say that Los Amigos is the only one that has been mentioned by the Indiana Court of Appeals, and it's the only one whose chalupas have contributed to a felony conviction.

On February 6, 2018, Jennifer Culver of Peru, Indiana, went to Los Amigos with her kids, and they ordered a chalupa, a children's menu quesadilla, and a pair of drinks. According to the Times of Northwest Indiana, when she received her chalupa, she started to question whether it was a chalupa at all. The Los Amigos waitstaff told her that it was totally a chalupa, but that their chalupas don't look like, say, the ones you'd get at Taco Bell.

Culver continued to argue about the authenticity of the chalupa, and she declined the manager's repeated offers to either give her another entree, replace it with a different chalupa, or just take the damn thing off her bill. Instead, she polished off her meal—including the chalupa—and she and the kids stopped just short of Naruto running out the door without paying their $11.73 tab.

The manager caught up with her before she drove off and told her that she owed the restaurant 11 bucks and change. Culver said she wasn't paying for "that [expletive]," according to court records obtained by the Times. That's when Los Amigos called the cops.

After ignoring five phone calls from the police—in which they repeatedly explained that she could resolve the entire situation if she just paid the restaurant—she was arrested for theft. A jury trial was held and, because of a previous theft conviction, she earned herself a level 6 felony conviction, along with 120 days of electronic monitoring and $485 in fines, court costs, and fees. Oh, and she also had to come up with a long-overdue $11.73 for Los Amigos.

Culver tried to appeal the decision, claiming that there was insufficient evidence to prove that she'd dined-and-dashed, but the Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed. Her sentence was upheld in a unanimous decision.

In a Google review of Los Amigos posted earlier this year, a woman wrote that she told a member of the staff that there was "something wrong" with her meal. She alleges that she was ultimately told that if she didn't pay her bill, they'd call the police, because you do not fuck with Los Amigos. (The woman said that she didn't have any plan to skip out on her check.)

Now we're curious whether she ordered a chalupa, too.