Tony Giannakis: A Mad Check-Walker's Reign of Terror Possibly Brought to Close

Antonis (or possibly Antonio) Lee Giannakis appears to like fine food. Unfortunately for local restaurants and himself, it looks like he doesn't like to pay for it.

On September 20, Giannakis, 47, appropriated a meal valued at more than $50 and was caught slipping out the door without paying. After getting a court-appointed attorney, four days later he accepted guilt and was sentenced to 30 days in the Harris County Jail, with credit for the time he had already served.

Generally, if they behave, county jail inmates do half their sentences. Giannakis appears to have done even less than that, because he was a free man on October 4. A free man and a hungry man. According to a criminal complaint, he went into an unspecified restaurant and ordered up "one serving of enchiladas, one serving of guacamole and chips, and one served alcoholic beverage" and again tried to leave without paying. Once again he was caught, and once again he got a court-appointed lawyer and accepted guilt. This time he got 45 days in the pokey.

But Giannakis's reign of restaurant terror was not done.

It was Halloween eve. Giannakis was free again and his stomach was rumbling. He had been subsisting on dismal Harris County jail chow for far too long. The enchiladas and guacamole that landed him there were starting to fade into the bittersweet dreams of yesterday's walked checks.

Perhaps that was why Giannakis, who according to court records currently resides in a Fannin Street rescue mission, felt compelled to stride into, of all places, the downtown McCormick and freaking Schmick's, plunk down in a booth and order up a feast consisting of, according to the complaint, "a restaurant meal of a house salad, a rib-eye steak, and three spiced teas" and again try to bail without dropping a red cent. (An HPD spokesman said that Giannakis ordered not tea but alcohol, so maybe the complaint was supposed to read "spiked.")

And he was nabbed for the third time. Since this is strike three in his little five-finger discount gourmand plan, this time around it's a felony. Bond has been set at $5,000.

While these are Giannakis's first offenses in Harris County, he has a lengthy rap sheet chock full of similar misdeeds elsewhere in the state. He's been popped burgling coin-op machines in San Antonio, filing false police reports in Austin, burgling homes in Sinton and, from the looks of it, walking checks in Corpus and Rockport.

Looks like the guy might enjoy seafood as much as Tex-Mex and steaks. And hey, even if he keeps on getting caught, they can't take all those meals away.

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