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The Stolen-Office-Lunch True Crime Story That Captivated Twitter on Friday

A tense thriller centered around pilfered shrimp fried rice

An office breakroom Wikimedia Commons

The online community, looking for any excuse to shirk work-related responsibilities at the end of the week, was riveted by a true-crime Twitter thread oozing with intrigue and salacious allegations Friday afternoon. Zak Toscani, a comedian and writer, according to his Twitter bio and professional website, tells the tale of a stolen office lunch, a security tape, and a tense stand-off between victim and assailant.

The thread actually began Thursday, around lunchtime on the West Coast. Toscani, who is based in Los Angeles, explained that his robbed co-worker viewed security camera footage of the theft from the office fridge, identified the perpetrator, and declined to file any formal complaint. Enthralled followers have also learned the contents of the lunch — shrimp fried rice; delicious — and that the robber did not eat the meal, but instead simply threw it in the garbage. Toscani tweets that all of this took place after his lunch-stealing co-worker had left their office for the day.

Toscani’s story resumed earlier Friday with a recap of the previous day’s events. The action ramped up again when the company’s human resources department sent out an email asking employees not to steal each other’s lunches, to which the alleged thief audibly replied, “Whoa, someone stole a lunch? Who would do something like that?”

This set off a verbal conflict between the two key parties, and at last check, there was no resolution. Toscani has since ordered shrimp fried rice for himself and the stars of this thriller.

Or has he? Toscani has tweeted that he is working for a post-production company and his yarn is “very real,” but there is no way of knowing based on his social media posts alone. In 2013, a television producer named Elane Gale live-tweeted an interaction with a fellow passenger on a delayed airplane, in which a small conflict escalated into a series of extremely aggressive notes being passed back and forth between the two. That’s what everyone who liked and retweeted the story thought, anyway. A few days later, Gale admitted he made the whole thing up. The Sporkful podcast relayed the story of a stolen office lunch and the ensuing mystery in 2015.

Being a comedian and writer, Toscani should have the skill set to come up with a funny work of fiction. As they say, pics or it didn’t happen. Eater has reached out to Toscani on Twitter and is awaiting his response.

@zaktoscani [Twitter]
Why Elan Gale Made Up an Epic ‘Note War’ on a Thanksgiving Flight [ABC]
True Crime: Investigating An Office Fridge Food Theft [The Sporkful]

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