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Restaurant freeloader’s death probed

– He was an unrepentant gastronomic freeloader, from lobster right up to the after-dinner brandy, always enjoying the bounty to the fullest.

Titus Clarysse was infamous in and around the northern Belgian town of Ghent for walking into restaurants, ordering whatever he craved and walking out without paying.

“Curse him? Maybe. But kill him? That makes no sense,” said Tim Joiris, head of the Ghent region restaurant and hotel federation.

Two days after the 35-year-old Clarysse was found dead in his apartment, investigators Thursday were looking for suspects in what spokeswoman Annemie Sirlippens called “a case of murder or manslaughter.”

Clarysse’s gastronomic past was the stuff of lore.

“He was asking for it all – the whole menu,” Joiris said, chuckling in remembrance. “He would sit and wait after the meal – another beer, a brandy.”

Joiris knows, since he had enough restaurant owners complain. Several convictions did not stop him.

“He did it all, the grand restaurants, the terraces. He really tried them all.”

De Standaard newspaper reported he was living on municipal welfare and often seemed to have the wrong kind of friends.

“We are not talking about an aggressive guy. He was just happy-go-lucky about it,” Joiris said.

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