LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Things are looking up for Lexington restaurant owners who helped hold each other up throughout the pandemic.
Now, there’s a new problem they share. A man who dines and dashes all over the city. Most downtown restaurants are familiar with Joshua Grubbs, but to the ones that aren’t, a warning that he’s up to his old tricks.
The owners of Bear and The Butcher and The Beer Trappe have had Grubbs on their radar for about four years. When we showed Brett Behr one of Grubbs’ many mugshots and asked what came to mind? “One of the worst people I’ve ever been involved with. Someone I definitely don’t want inside my business.”
Efran Rodriguez at El Rancho Tapatio says back in February Grubbs bellied up to his bar, “he kept asking me for a beer and a second beer,” Rodriguez says. “He didn’t really dine and dash. He told me straight up, I’m not going to pay for it.”
At the Great Clips on Euclid last Friday, “he gets his haircut and then at the end, when it’s time to pay, he says go ahead and call the police. And takes out the door running,” said Rebecca Hatton.
And, the behavior is nothing new. A Facebook post by a downtown restaurant worker over the weekend has been shared nearly 800 times. Most of those commenting, familiar with Josh Grubbs.
From the Fayette County Detention Center, Grubbs told FOX 56 anchor Kristen Pflum, “it’s been going on for at least a decade. Unfortunately, this is where I live. I live in the FDCD. Been here for 95% of my life.”
Police arrested him Saturday after they say he was found sitting on a Starbuck’s patio, munching on $46 of food he stole from the nearby Shell gas station. That included a case of White Claws.
“I drink and if I can drink booze, I can self-medicate and end up back here. It sucks, it’s terrible,” Grubbs says.
It’s a sobering admission from the 45-year old, who says he’s an Army veteran and until 10 years ago, was able to hold reputable jobs. Then he says mental illness, addiction and being homeless gripped him in a cycle he can’t get out of.
“Not only does he go in and not pay his tab,” says Bear and Butcher general manager Glenn Cox, “he often starts stuff with other guests. Talks about unsavory topics like Nazi and SS.”
Grubbs wears an “SS” tattoo on his right arm. A nod to Hitler’s personal bodyguards.
The 45-year old told me from jail he desperately wants help and he’s sorry.