Three individuals attempted a dine and dash at Imperial China on Saturday, using a razor knife and a hatchet to threaten restaurant staff after trying to walk out without paying for a meal, the South Portland Police Department said Monday.

Officers responded to reports of customers fighting with the staff around 5 p.m. that evening.

Bryan Frank, 39, of Portland, pulled a hatchet from his waistband as he allegedly tried to walk out on a $40 tab, police said. Restaurant employees attempted to confront Frank, and one was pushed to the ground in the process.

Michelle Choate, 23 years old of Pittston, allegedly came to Frank’s aid holding a box-cutter with a retractable razor blade and threatened the staff, police said. Customers from a nearby business saw the commotion the suspects were causing and intervened.

Imperial China sits in the corner of the Dick’s Sporting Goods shopping plaza next to the Maine Mall. The good samaritans who came to help successfully disarmed the suspects, one of them sustaining a cut in the process. Police arrived as the suspects were trying to get away.

Frank was arrested for alleged robbery, aggravated assault, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, and refusing to submit to arrest or detention.

Choate was arrested for robbery, aggravated assault, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, and refusing to submit to arrest or detention

The third suspect, Emma Alexandre, a 28-year-old from Portland, was issued a summons for theft of services and released from the scene.

Bryan Frank of Portland, left, and Michelle Choate of Pittston, were arrested after trying a dine-and-dash at Imperial China restaurant on Saturday, July 14, 2018. Frank pulled a hatchet and threatened staff with it after they were caught. (Courtesy of South Portland Police Department)


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