As It Happens

Ketchup thief pens apology letter to restaurant after 'bad karma'

Maria DiLeo may not have noticed a missing bottle of ketchup at her New Jersey restaurant — but a guilty customer still apologized for making off with the condiment after some bad luck.

'I am as square as they come and this is the worst thing I've done,' the letter reads

An apology note and 2 bottles of ketchup were left in front of Maria DiLeo's Perkins. (Submitted by Maria DiLeo)
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Maria DiLeo may not have noticed a missing bottle of ketchup at her New Jersey restaurant — but a guilty customer still apologized for making off with the condiment after some bad luck. 

On Wednesday, two new bottles of ketchup and a note were left outside DiLeo's Perkins restaurant in Lacey Township, N.J.

In the letter, the anonymous thief wrote, "I am as square as they come and this is the worst thing I've done." 

The writer said that in the two weeks since taking the bottle, they experienced a litany of bad karma and luck, including being involved in a car collision.

"I hope returning two new bottles will restore some [luck] for me, and I can stop carrying around this guilt. Again, I'm really sorry I inconvenienced you the same way my life has been inconveniencing me," the note read.

It was signed, "an awful person."

'You are forgiven'

DiLeo said when she read the note, she couldn't believe how guilty the person felt. 

"I'm looking at it going, 'Oh my God, this poor girl. I feel terrible,'" DiLeo, who figured the writer was a girl based on the handwriting, told As It Happens guest host Rosemary Barton. 

"Ever since she took that ... she has had that bad luck and bad karma."

Maria DiLeo, right, owner of the Perkins restaurant in Lacey Township, N.J., with her daughter and manager of the restaurant, Jamie DiLeo-Thomas. (Submitted by Maria DiLeo)

So DiLeo set out to ease the person's guilt. 

"To the person that returned this. You are forgiven," DiLeo wrote on the local Lacey Township Chatter Facebook group. "Hope all goes better for you lesson learned." 

DiLeo still has no idea who the customer is, but said that stealing a bottle of ketchup doesn't constitute a crime. 

"I mean, let's be for real, if this is the worst thing you did and you're already driving a car .... you're in good shape," she said. 

"My mom goes in and takes the Splenda," she said with a laugh. "Come on Mom, really?" 

Not the first time

This is not the first time something has been stolen from DiLeo's restaurant. After owning it for 13 years, she takes petty thefts in stride. 

"I had a lady take my whole sugar caddy. I mean, what am I going to say to her? I figured she needed it more than me." 

Perkins owner Maria DiLeo posted this picture to a local Facebook group in Lacey, New Jersey. (Submitted by Maria DiLeo)

DiLeo said she has framed the letter and the two bottles of ketchup will remain together as a "tribute." 

"I don't look at it as a warning. I look at it as, like, forgiveness," she said.

As for the guilty party, DiLeo hopes that with their crime forgiven, their luck will return

"She should go play the lottery and then come see me when she hits it."

Written by Sarah Jackson. Produced by Katie Geleff. 

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