Employees at Webster Groves restaurant chase down tip jar thief

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WEBSTER GROVES, MO (KPLR) - Surveillance video shows a young man run off with the tip jar from a popular Mexican restaurant in Webster Groves.

But he didn’t make it far.

Two employees at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop sprang into action and nabbed him, and got back their stolen tips.

Larry Hardney, Jr. and Them Mnyande recall the incident on a recent Thursday evening, when Fuzzy’s Watson Road location hosted its weekly trivia night.

A man waiting in line asked for a job application. When the moment was right, he grabbed the tip jar and ran out of the restaurant. Surveillance video shows him bolt out of Fuzzy’s front door.

Both Hardney, Jr. and Mnyande work as cashiers and bartenders at Fuzzy’s. But on that evening, they were crime fighters.

“That was our instinct. That everyone’s tips are going away. Let’s get this back,” Mnyande said. “It wasn’t about, ‘Oh no,’ we might get hurt. It was, ‘We worked hard for this. Let’s get it back.”

And that’s what they did.

Mnyande headed west on Watson, running after the man, who was later found crouching behind a dumpster with the tip jar containing $90 worth of cash tips.

Hardney, Jr. was close behind.

“He fell over on his back. And I ran up. And before he could run away, I just ran up [and] just snagged him. Like, you’re not going anywhere,” Hardney, Jr. said.

When the three returned to the restaurant, Webster Groves Police were already on the scene,

Mnyande and Hardney, Jr. said, ready to take the man into custody.

The two employees returned to the restaurant with a boisterous crowd ready to greet them.

“It was like when you go the Super Bowl or when you go to a baseball game and you see a homerun. They were going crazy, clapping. Whistles coming out,” Mnyande said.

Katie Lampkin is the general manager of the Webster Groves Fuzzy’s Taco Shop location.

“I am proud of them. Of their work to begin with. The fact that they would go chasing after someone,” she said.