Coffee Caper: Suburbs Have Tip Jar Thief

Five suburban locations hit within three days, police say

By Shawna Prince
|  Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010  |  Updated 8:30 PM CDT
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A rash of tip jar heists from area Starbucks stores have authorities thinking they're all the work of the same guy.

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A rash of tip jar heists from area Starbucks stores have authorities thinking they're all the work of the same guy.

Five coffee shops -- in Buffalo Grove, Wilmette, Northbrook and Winnetka -- were hit within three days, police said.

The coffee caper began Nov. 5 at a location just west of the Edens Expressway, in Wilmette.  Staffers told police that a man walked into the Starbucks and ordered a drink.  He gave the clerk a credit card, but before it was swiped said that he had to pick up his dry cleaning and would be back in a few minutes. 

The clerk later realized two things:  that the credit card didn't work and that the tip jar was missing from the same counter.

The same clerk said the man got into his car, drove around to the pick-up window and snatched a second tip jar that was sitting in the window. 

Authorities have the man's license plate and cross-checked it with state records, which turned up a name, but also a non-working telephone number.

A store in Northbrook was hit Nov. 6. 

Police spokesman Michael Shep didn't offer details on that theft, but said authorities have "some pretty good information," according to TribLocal.

Four tip jars were stolen Nov. 7; two from a Starbucks location in Wilmette, one from a store in Winnetka and one from a store in Buffalo Grove.

All of the heists netted the theif at least $200.
 

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