Huntington Street Café employee Maria Barden didn’t realize the customer she was serving Wednesday morning was the focus of a massive overnight search.
The middle-aged man seemed like a regular customer at first, coming to the establishment on the Huntington Green in Shelton for breakfast.
William Luciano, 47, came in slightly past 7:45 a.m. and ordered coffee, a bagel and orange juice while there, Barden said.
“Nothing was off at all,” said Barden, 20, of Shelton. “All he said was that he was cold and he wanted to warm up. I just thought he was a normal customer.”
Stayed for a long time
However, the customer stayed for an unusual amount of time and used the bathroom on more than one occasion. Barden eventually noticed the man wasn’t wearing any shoes.
A co-worker suggested Barden contact the establishment’s co-owner, Andy Venditti, about the man and she did that at about 8:45 or so.
Venditti was heading to the café and was aware emergency personnel were looking for a man who had unexpectedly left a Shelton rehabilitation center late the previous night.
“I told her that might be him,” Venditti said.
The police were contacted and quickly arrived at the scene, and Luciano soon was transported to a hospital for observation.
Parents told him about search
Venditti knew there was a search for a missing man because his parents live in Shelton and had received a reverse 9-1-1 call about the situation and told him about it.
Venditti owns the Huntington Street Café with his wife Olga and their partners Sherri and Davin Pokoik. They purchased the establishment in late 2013.
Barden has been working at the Huntington Street Café for a few months.