Heinz Offers To Help ‘Reformed Ketchup Thief’ Who Stole From N.J. Eatery, Then Left Apology Note

Racked by guilt and hit with a dose of bad karma, the unidentified thief fessed up to pilfering ketchup from a local restaurant, leaving two replacement bottles to counteract the misdeed.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
An anonymous note left at a New Jersey restaurant

Heinz is hoping to pay it forward with an anonymous thief who recently stole a bottle of their ketchup from a New Jersey restaurant, and then anonymously bought replacement bottles after apparently being racked with guilt and hit with bad karma after the theft.

Maria DiLeo, owner of Perkins Restaurant & Bakery in Forked River, shared the story on Facebook earlier this month: in an anonymous note, the repentant thief admitted to swiping a bottle of ketchup from one of the restaurant’s tables because they thought it’d be “risky.” Afterward, however, they got a dose of bad karma, with someone crashing into their car, the thief explained; the two bottles of ketchup were apparently a peace offering they hoped would counteract the bad karma.

“I am as square as they come and this is the worst thing I’ve done,” the letter reads. “Well, a few hours after I did it someone crashed into my car, and since then, my karma, luck, and life have been sh—t. I hope returning two new bottles will restore some for me, and I can stop carrying around this guilt.”

“Again, I’m really sorry if I inconvenienced you the same way my life has been inconveniencing me,” the note continued.

DiLeo wrote on Facebook that the thief — who signed the letter as “an awful person” — was forgiven. Heinz stepped in on Wednesday to take things a step further, however, writing on Twitter that they’d be willing to help the “reformed ketchup thief” pay for their car repairs.

“Reformed Ketchup Thief,” the tweet reads. “We get it, Heinz makes you do crazy things. In honor of your good Ketchup Karma, we’d love to help you with your car damages. DM us. We’ll keep your identity top secret.”

The “reformed ketchup thief” left the replacement bottles in a Walmart bag, along with the note, outside of the restaurant and manager Charlene Reebe found them on July 31 at around closing time, the New York Post reports.

The thief has not been identified, but in an interview with the Post, DiLeo theorized that they’re “probably a very nice young lady” who “does have a conscience.” And in addition to the possible financial help with car repairs, they could also possibly get a new job for the display of honesty.

“I would hire her in a second,” DiLeo told the outlet. “Because if you do something like that, you’re not an awful person. You’re an honest person.”

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