Shelton, WA - A group of three employees of El Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant in Shelton appeared to be involved in pocketing money meant for police officers' meals, leading officers to question if there's anywhere safe to eat while in uniform.
According to Mason County area law enforcement officer, Adam Richardson, he was eating at El Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant on Wednesday at around 8 PM, in uniform, with two other uniformed police officers. He said that he saw a man paying his bill and he overheard the man say that he wanted to contribute extra money to pay for the officers' bills as well.
After the good Samaritan paid, Richardson said that he saw three employees conferring with each other. An employee then presented the three police officers with their bills, which were full-priced bills, and made no mention of the good Samaritan's payment.
When the officers confronted the employee about it, the waiter got a "deer in the headlights" look, and pulled out $17 that he had pocketed and handed it to the officers. The understandably upset officers then paid their bills and left.
The officers knew one of the people in the good Samaritan's party and one of them contacted her about the incident. When she was told what happened, she said that she wasn't positive how much money they had contributed toward the officers' bills, but she thought it was more than $17. The officers returned the money to her. When she checked her bank account transaction from the restaurant, she found that her debit card was overcharged by $10.
After the incident, Richardson started warning his friends away from the restaurant. He told me, "It's stuff like this that makes it hard to be able to go and eat at a restaurant in uniform."
He told me that it was clear that this was no misunderstanding. The employees all spoke English well, and the cash was pocketed.
The restaurant manager told me that he was unaware of the incident, but he promised me that they would look into the situation and handle it. About an hour later the owner called to inform me that the employee involved had been recently hired and has now been fired. He added that they appreciate their law enforcement customers and that he would be looking into the other employees who were working at the time.
UPDATE: Victim says employee is still working. Click HERE for update.