It wasn’t Virgil Tillman’s last meal.
But unless he’s especially fond of jail food, Tillman’s Sunday repast at a fine restaurant on the Country Club Plaza could be the last good one he enjoys for a while.
Considered a fugitive in two states, the 30-year-old Kansas City, Kan., man had the misfortune of choosing to eat at the same time and place as a deputy U.S. marshal who had been looking for him since February.
The deputy, who was off duty, immediately recognized Tillman, said Matt Cahill, acting deputy U.S. marshal for Kansas.
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“He’d been chasing him around the city for quite a while but kept running into dead ends,” Cahill said. “Then out of the blue.”
The deputy also recognized the woman dining with Tillman in an establishment where dinner for two costs more than $100. The deputy had interviewed her while searching for Tillman. She had denied knowing his whereabouts, according to Cahill.
Authorities in Johnson County had been looking for Tillman since July 2013, when he was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana, according to court records. The charges stemmed from a Shawnee police search warrant. He also was wanted in Kansas City, Kan., for theft and on a bench warrant from city court, Wyandotte County records show.
And authorities in Sequoyah County, Okla., had been looking for him since March 2013, when he failed to appear in court on drug and illegal weapon charges. Those charges stemmed from the search of a vehicle occupied by Tillman and another man that had been pulled over for speeding, an Oklahoma court official said.
On Feb. 6, Johnson County authorities asked the Marshals Service to find Tillman, Cahill said.
On Sunday, the deputy entered the restaurant about 6:30 p.m.
Tillman and his companion were already there. As soon as the deputy sat down, he recognized the pair. The woman did not notice the deputy, Cahill said.
The deputy walked back outside and called Kansas City police for backup.
They contacted the parking valet outside and learned that Tillman used the name “D” when he had his car parked. Cahill said the deputy knew that Tillman went by the nickname “Dime P.”
The officers decided to wait outside for Tillman to leave because they didn’t want to create a disturbance inside.
“They let him finish his meal,” Cahill said.
Tillman’s companion, who had a small child with her, left first, and again she did not recognize the deputy.
Cahill said that as Tillman started to leave, he saw the officers and attempted to hold the restaurant doors shut to keep them from walking in. But they pulled the doors open and arrested him.
“It was definitely one of those ‘oops’ moments for a fugitive,” Cahill said.
Cahill said the deputy also had some advice for Tillman’s female friend: “Get a good lawyer.”
Reports were being forwarded to Johnson County prosecutors to decide if she should be prosecuted for hindering the investigation.
As for the deputy?
After police hauled Tillman off to jail, he was able to go back in and enjoy his meal. He didn’t need to order dessert.
He had already had it with a cherry on top.