OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Workers at an Oakland restaurant feel ripped off. The owner of Borinquen Soul says his employees were pooling tips to give to sick children in need. They were using a tip jar near the cash register to store the money.
Tuesday afternoon the jar with the money vanished and surveillance video shows a woman caught in the act.
"There's no sympathy for somebody who comes and steals money from kids," says Jose Ortiz Borinquen Soul manager.
The video shows the woman grabbing the jar, putting it in her bag. She then covers it and walks out the door. Workers at Borinquen Soul are hurt that the woman would do such a thing. Especially since Ortiz offered her a free meal just moments before the allege theft.
"I told her directly to go inside and tell Eric that I said give you something to eat. Because that's what we do, take care of our people and our community," says Ortiz.
Oakland police are investigating the theft at the Dimond District restaurant. The owner says it all happened while he was working in the kitchen. "When I came to the front I realized the tip jar wasn't there and the first thing I did was scream for one of our other guys let's look at the camera, says Eric Rivera.
He says the jar had more than $600 in cash— money they were collecting to help those in need.
"Took all the money that don't belong to her, don't belong to us, that money was for the children of Oakland's
Children Hospital," says Ortiz. "Our hearts were in the right place with this and then to see somebody that has already been kicked out of here for stealing to come in here and get that thing," says Rivera.
This isn’t the first time the woman's had a run in at this location. You see the restaurant is inside 2 Star Market.
The store's owner says he banned the woman from returning a little more than a year ago. After he says she was caught stealing from the market. Rivera posted the video to the restaurant’s Facebook page and he says they're getting backlash from some in the community.
"People say she's gone through enough bring the video down because the lady's embarrassed we shouldn't embarrass her and I'm like one thing we know is that lady came and stole from us," says Rivera. "I don't care about her situation. I know the situation of the children in the hospital. That it’s a bad situation," says Ortiz.
Rivera says he plans to replace the money for the original tip jar out of his pocket. There's now a new tip jar on the counter. This time it’s bigger and heavier than the one before. He says the jar will stay put and if someone takes it, he'll replace it with an even bigger one.