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Howell PD: Pizza Hut Armed Robbery Was Hoax

Howell police at the scene of a "robbery" at Pizza Hut on Route 9.
Howell police at the scene of a "robbery" at Pizza Hut on Route 9. Photo Credit: Facebook

A Pizza Hut employee wanted a pay raise, so he made up a story about chasing off an armed robber, police said.

Joseph Baude, 30, of Ocean Township was charged with creating a false alarm and making a false report, Howell police said.

Friday's incident at the Pizza Hut on Route 9 triggered a major law enforcement response when it was reported about 10:30 a.m. A total of 26 on-duty police officers from Howell responded to the scene and spent two hours manning a perimeter and searching for a suspect, police said. This included providing security for both the Goddard School and the Southard School.

Baude claimed he was confronted by a man who displayed a handgun while demanding cash, police said. Baude told police that he managed to fight off the bandit, who fled the Pizza Hut "empty-handed."

However, security camera footage of the restaurant did not support the account, police said.

“Early on, we were suspicious of this report but obviously had to thoroughly investigate and take precautionary measures,” Howell Police Chief Andrew Kudrick said on Facebook.

Ultimately, Baude confessed to two Howell police detectives that he lied.

The reason? "He wanted to look favorable with corporate so he could get a raise," Kudrick said. "He was remorseful and realized the extent of his actions."

"As parents ourselves, the safety and security of your children are our priority," Kudrick said. "Although this was a false report, it tested our capabilities during an incident. As a chief, it’s very impressive to see that many officers work together in unison in a very organized, focused and persistent manner."

Baude was released on a summons pending a future hearing in Municipal Court, police said.

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