Customer tackles suspected thief at Westside Burger King, hopes to be hired

An attempted robber took Burger King’s “Have It Your Way” to a whole new level. 

Witnesses say Russell Peebles, 41, reached into the drive-thru at the Burger King on Edgewood Ave. on the Westside and tried to grab the cash register.

One of the customers, Joseph Pietruszka, ended up running after the suspected thief and tackled him to the ground.

“When I saw him in the window, he was horizontal, you know, like Superman-style, trying to grab the register,” Pietruszka said.

The two wrestled on the ground, and Pietruszka says the suspect told him he was stealing to feed his family.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrived within minutes and arrested Peebles, who was charged with robbery.

In the police report, Peebles told JSO without being prompted: "I will admit to it all, if you let me talk to my girlfriend."

JSO said that Peebles told them he tried to steal the money because "There was no one at the drive-through line and I thought I could get the register and run."

After he was caught, Peebles reportedly yelled to his girlfriend, "Baby, I love you. I wanted you to have money so you would get off the street."

The owner of the Edgewood Ave. Burger King gave Pietruszka a $100 gift card, but he may get even more for his good deed.

Pietruszka, as it turns out, was eating breakfast in preparation for a day of job-hunting. He hopes to turn the experience into a job — he’s returning to the restaurant Wednesday to fill out an application.

“I told [the owner] if you really want to help me out, I need a job,” Pietruszka said.

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