A group of dine-and-dashers pulled a young waitress into their SUV as they fled a restaurant in New Jersey on Saturday night, then beat her up and dumped her at the side of the road, according to local police.
The incident happened outside the Nifty Fifty’s restaurant in Turnersville, N.J., Saturday around 11:15 p.m., according to police in Washington Township.
Five people allegedly left the restaurant without paying their $70 bill and got into a white Dodge Durango SUV in the parking lot. The victim, a 20-year-old woman, rushed up to the vehicle to confront them for skipping their bill, surveillance video shows.
Video shows the waitress chasing after the vehicle as it starts to pull away. One individual can be seen pulling the woman into a side door before the SUV rolls away. Another person appears to run away from the vehicle just before it leaves.
“They pulled her into the vehicle and assaulted her inside the vehicle,” Washington Township police Chief Patrick Gurcsik told ABC 6.
“It’s a brazen abduction, it’s a robbery, it’s a potential kidnapping,” he added in an interview with NBC News.
Police say the vehicle initially drove north, then performed a U-turn and headed south. The woman was beaten up inside the vehicle and then pushed out along the side of the highway, Gurcsik said.
The victim ran back to the restaurant and called police. She was later taken to hospital and treated for bruises and a possible concussion, police said. She has since been released from hospital.
Police released surveillance video stills of the suspects and their vehicle on Monday in hopes of finding them.
The victim and the suspects had not been identified as of Tuesday afternoon.
The Nifty Fifty’s restaurant described the attack as an “isolated incident” in a statement on Facebook Monday. It also encouraged its staff to be safe when it comes to dine-and-dash scenarios.
“It is, and has always been our company policy that servers are not responsible for walkouts,” the diner wrote on Facebook. “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.”
Gurcsik also urged locals to be cautious in similar situations.
“Do not chase after suspects and confront them yourself,” he said.