By: Katie Francis, Follow South Jersey Public Health Intern
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A young waitress was abducted and assaulted after attempting to chase down a group of dine-and-dashers that left a popular family restaurant without paying their bill late Saturday night.
According to police, the 20-year-old waitress at Nifty Fifty’s in Washington Township ran after three men and two women who left the restaurant around 11:15 p.m. without paying their $70 tab. Surveillance footage shows the waitress running after the fleeing vehicle only to be pulled into an SUV. The video also showed one of the suspects running away from the car and heading south along Route 42.
The SUV, which is described as being a newer model white Dodge Durango with New Jersey tags, headed northbound on State Highway 42, carrying four of the suspects and the waitress. The victim was eventually pushed from the vehicle, which is when she ran back to the restaurant to call 911.
Washington Township Police Chief Patrick Gurcsik said that the waitress suffered bruising on her face, head, and neck, and she may also have suffered a concussion as a result of the abduction. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for her injuries and later released.
According to a statement the restaurant posted on Facebook, Nifty Fifty’s will cover the young waitress’ expenses related to the incident.
“The safety of our staff is our top priority. It is, and has always been our company policy that servers are not responsible for walkouts,” the statement read. “We value our employees and want them to know that no amount of money is worth their lives, nor is it their responsibility. We are sending thoughts and prayers to our employee for a speedy recovery.”
In response to this incident, Chief Gurcsik urged others to avoid confronting customers in incidents such as this one. He says to get information about the fleeing vehicle — such as its license plate number, make, and model, instead of trying to take matters into your own hands.
The Washington Township Police Department is still looking for the five suspects seen in surveillance footage. Anyone with information is asked to contact the authorities at (856) 589-0330, ext. 1160.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.