CLARK, NJ — When Danae Tuck went to work at the Clark White Diamond on Tuesday, she anticipated an ordinary day of serving up fresh food and smiles to her customers. What she didn’t expect, after nine years on the job, was someone to walk out the door with the staff’s tip jar. But that's what happened, and video of the theft, which she posted to Facebook, quickly went viral.
Now, according to Clark Police Chief Pedro Matos, Andrew Hazuda, 26, of Clark has been arrested and charged with theft and released on a summons.
Tuck said she didn't suspect anything unusual when a man entered the restaurant and took a seat in a booth by the window. When her coworker asked him if he was ready to order, the man said he was waiting on friends.
According to Tuck, the man sat in the booth for a while.
“He just sat there, didn't check his phone and didn’t do anything. He just sat there and listened to me talking to some other customers at the counter about my husband's motorcycle accident," she said.
Tuck explained she was sharing a story about the serious accident her husband had 18 months earlier that left him permanently disabled. She said the unidentified man sat and listened to her talk about how her husband’s accident left her the sole provider for their family, which has lead to financial hardships for them.
She struggles to understand how this man could have heard the details of her situation and still take the money from her.
"Why would you steal from someone who has less than you?" Tuck said. "He heard my conversation, he knew my situation."
The suspect can be seen in video caught on the restaurant’s surveillance cameras as he went up to the counter, moved the tip jar toward him, slid it under his coat and headed out the door.
When she noticed the jar missing, Tuck asked her coworker if she had moved it. When they realized it was gone, Tuck called the restaurant owner and then the police. Both arrived quickly and together they went to view the video footage, she said.