Thief caught on camera stealing tip jar money, cash for cancer patient

Theft reported Sunday night at Hungry Howie's in Davie

DAVIE, Fla. – A thief was captured on surveillance video Sunday night stealing money from a tip jar at a Hungry Howie's Pizza & Subs in Davie, as well as money that was being raised for a woman with cancer.

"I was so upset about it. I really was. It's a horrible thing to do," owner Sharon Berry said. 

Berry owns several Hungry Howie's restaurants across South Florida.

When she learned a Cooper City woman named Rhea Ranon had fallen on hard times, she decided to do whatever she could to help.

"She was diagnosed with breast cancer and we were raising money to help her offset some of her bills," Berry said. 

Berry's son was working the dinner rush over the weekend when he was told by another customer that a man had stolen money from the restaurant's tip jar.

Berry and her husband immediately pulled up their surveillance system and when they reviewed the footage, they noticed he also dipped into the jar filled with cash for Ranon.

They were able to identify the man and gave his information to police, but the entire ordeal has left Berry sick to her stomach.

"There's no mistaking what this jar is. If you take a look at 'em, you know what it is," she said. "It's her picture. It's got the pink bandana. It's about the lowest form of theft that it could be."

Berry said the man probably only got away with somewhere between $50 to $60.

Police later arrested the suspect, identified as Michael Calareso, who they said admitted to stealing about $15.

Local 10 News reporter Ian Margol went to Calareso's home Monday. He didn't want to speak about the incident, but acknowledged that he was wrong.

"I made a mistake, sir. I don't want to be on the news," Calareso said.

Despite the theft, money is still being raised for Ranon as she continues her battle against breast cancer.

Click here to donate to a GoFundMe page set up for Ranon. 


About the Author: