Toys for Tots donation jar stolen from Flame Broiler restaurant in Jacksonville

by: Michael Yoshida, Action News Jax Updated:

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A Jacksonville business owner needs help finding the man who stole from children in need.

She said the man captured on surveillance video stole tips from a jar on the counter.

That money was supposed to go toward buying toys for children. The workers at the Flame Broiler donate all their tips to help the efforts of Toys for Tots. But Jackie Grzebin, the store’s owner, said on Monday that someone had stolen the cash from their tip jar.

“It could be anywhere, upwards of $50 to $100,” Grzebin said.

All that cash was intended to buy toys for kids this holiday.

“My staff steps it up, they decide they’re going to donate all of their tips for toys and tots,” Grzebin said.

“He turned that kids' Christmas into a thug holiday. He’s a thug, he’s a scumbag, he’s all that,” said Jarrell Coleman, the store manager.

Coleman is talking about the man he said was caught on surveillance video taking the cash.

“We got cameras everywhere, we caught him everywhere,” Coleman said.

Coleman says the cameras caught the man stealing cash from his store’s tip jar.

“We’re using this money for Toys for Tots, for kids, and he pretty much stole from kids,” Coleman said.

Wednesday, Coleman showed Action News Jax the video and walked us through how the theft happened, saying that the man distracted the employee by asking questions about the menu as he went for the tip jar.

“He moved it over, point up again, move it over, point it one more time, take the money, holds it to the side, point up there again, put it in his pocket and says, 'Oh, I forgot my wallet,' and walked out,” Coleman said.

“I ain’t playing no games with him, I’m going to get him,” Coleman said.

Coleman hopes sharing this video will help, and he has a message for how he’d like to see the thief pay for taking Christmas gifts away from kids

“I want to put my hands on him … but I don’t know if you can set up a boxing charity for the kids … one versus one, hand-to-hand combat and if he wins, he can walk away scot-free, if he lose, he going to jail. Simple as that,” Coleman said.

Along with taking the cash, Coleman said the man ordered four different meals before walking off, saying he needed to go find his wallet.