MADEIRA BEACH — Police say an attempt by 55-year-old John Bradley Kane to extort food and later money from a Hooters restaurant has backfired spectacularly and, in a satisfying turn, has landed the would-be grifter in jail.
Having come across a letter “O” from the restaurant’s sign on the ground after it was dislodged by Hurricane Irma, authorities say Kane took his first stab at defrauding Hooters late last year. According to a manager at the franchise, he and his pals entered the establishment claiming that the “O” had fallen from its mooring and landed on Kane’s foot, injuring him. The group requested free food and drinks as a means of recompense, but were turned away. (Kane, in an act of largely impotent defiance, absconded with the offending “O” at that time as well.)
Growing only more ambitious after his first failed attempt to get something for nothing, Kane went on to file a lawsuit in November against the restaurant’s insurer, Liberty Mutual, seeking $225,000 of reimbursement for medical expenses, pain and suffering stemming from the alleged sign-related foot injury.
Unfortunately for Kane, however, the storm that took out the restaurant’s signage left its surveillance camera intact.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office revealed that footage taken outside the Hooters showed the infamous “O” safely at rest on the ground until Kane happened upon it and hatched his half-baked scheme.
And so it was that Kane, who only first wanted to ogle pretty young women while enjoying some free food, found himself instead booked into Pinellas County Jail. (He was turned loose about two hours later on $5,000 bond.)
In the end, the only place he ended up showing his “O” face was his mugshot.