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CSI: Criminal Salad Investigation

Written By Scott Joseph On June 24, 2021


Note: The name of the Hillstone representative was misspelled in the Winter Park Police report. Cindy Wathen, not Wather, is the manager. 

New details have come in regarding the alleged Saladgate incident at Hillstone recently. As I told you in Wednesday’s edition of Newsy Nuggets, Winter Park Police were called to the restaurant during Tuesday’s lunch hour because a customer had requested a salad to go.

The customer, Bruce Woodburn, posted about the incident on his Facebook page and recounted his version of what happened in a video. Basically, as I understand it, Woodburn was dining at the lakefront restaurant with another person and asked to purchase a salad to take with him. The restaurant said no. He then asked for a salad to eat at his table, but again was told no. Apparently management was on to his little ploy and suspected that as soon as the salad was delivered to the table he would request a box for the “leftovers.”

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Eventually, Woodburn was asked to pay his bill and leave. When he did, he was met outside by two of Winter Park’s finest, who had been called by Hillstone. Cindy Wathen, identified in the report as a “restaurant representative,” told the officers that she wanted Woodburn trespassed and read Woodburn a trespass warning, which he said he understood. He left the scene without incident, according to the report.

A Hillstone manager told me Wednesday that they would have no comment.

However, according to the Trespass Warning Report filled out by responding officer Kyle Noyes, Wathen later expressed “displeasure with how the call was handled.”

That is most likely a reference to the smiling (almost laughing) selfies Woodburn took with the two officers to commemorate the event. Noyes said in the report that he referred Wathen to his supervisor “for more information.” A spokeswoman for Winter Park Police Department could not comment because she did not have first-hand knowledge of the incident.

It should be noted that nowhere in the report is it mentioned that trying to order a takeaway salad is what led to Woodburn being asked to leave. But it does say that managers said he was “causing a disruption.”

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