Toys for Tots donations stolen from Southside restaurant

Surveillance captures customer taking money inside jar at Flame Broiler

By Francesca Amiker - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Southside restaurant's surveillance camera captured a customer stealing charity donations meant to go to Toys for Tots.

Employees at Flame Broiler on Philips Highway said they called police after a man came into the restaurant earlier this week and left with multiple large bills inside a tip jar. 

"I was in the back, making bowls, and we had a customer come in. He ordered several of our bowls and distracted our cashier," said Adrienne Branson, assistant manager of Flame Broiler. 

After his deed was done, Branson said, he acted like he left his wallet in the car and then vanished. 

"I'd taken some money from the tip jar and exchanged them from the drawer earlier. So I put a $10 and a $5 in there. And then noticed it was missing a little while later so I called the manager. We pulled the video and watched what he did," Branson said.

But the jar didn't contain tips. Branson said all of the employees had agreed to donate the money to buy toys for the Toys for Tots Foundation -- a charity that was there for owner Jackie Grzebin when she was a little girl. 

"It's a little heartbreaking. Our customers donate, they leave us the tips for us and they are very generous. And they allow us to be generous as well. That's why we were giving they money to Toys for Tots. And now we're going to be short just a little bit," Branson said. 

Flame Broiler will be accepting Toys for Tots donations at all three of its Jacksonville locations

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. 

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