Suspect steals pizza restaurant's tip jar

Polk County deputies say a suspect wrestled with his own conscience before deciding to steal a tip jar. 

The incident occurred on Saturday around 7:30 p.m. The suspect was sitting inside Palace Pizza in the Highlands City shopping center located on U.S. Highway 98 South in Lakeland. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office shared surveillance video from inside the pizza shop.

The suspect is seen looking around the restaurant several times before getting out of his chair, grabbing the tip jar, and exiting the restaurant. The amount of stolen money was not disclosed.

“The fine men & women of Palace Pizza work hard for those tips - and most everyone in Polk County loves loves LOVES those garlic knots,” the agency wrote on its Facebook page.

They added, “No - it’s not the crime of the century but we’ve said it before & we’ll say it again - we’ve got video of it, so we’re posting it. It’s our experience that someone who has no problem snatching a tip jar off a counter might have a proclivity for stealing other stuff.”

Investigators said the suspect appears to be in his early 20s, at least 5’9 feet tall, and about 140 pounds. He was seen wearing a blue shirt and blue sweatpants. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Polk county Sheriff's Office at 863-298-6200 or send an anonymous tip through Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477 or visit