“They pulled her into the vehicle and assaulted her in the vehicle,” Washington Township Police Chief Patrick Gurcsik said in an interview with ABC News station WPVI.
As the vehicle sped out of the parking lot and made a U-turn, the woman was pushed out and left on the side of a state highway. She was able to return to the restaurant and contact police. She suffered several bruises and a possible concussion, and was released from a nearby hospital after being treated for her injuries.
Washington Township police did not respond to a request for comment but released photos of the three men and two women alleged to have participated in the attack, all of whom remain at large.
A Nifty Fifty’s employee reached by phone Monday afternoon could not comment, but the restaurant posted a statement to Facebook emphasizing that the incident was an isolated one and that the safety of its staff was a top priority.
“We value our employees and want them to know that no amount of money is worth their lives, nor is it their responsibility. We are sending thoughts and prayers to our employee for a speedy recovery,” it said.
The incident underscores what has been a turbulent year for restaurant employees, who have often been placed front and center in dealing with unruly customers. During the interview, Gurcsik encouraged servers and bartenders to refrain from physical confrontation. “Do not chase after accused suspects and confront them yourselves,” he said.