LOWER EAST SIDE — A thief stole an iPad from behind the counter of an Essex Street chocolate shop on Saturday, two weeks after the owner bought it to use as a high-tech cash register, the store's owner said Monday.
Rhonda Kave, owner of Roni-Sue's Chocolates, was working at one end of the narrow Essex Street Market shop Saturday afternoon, while the iPad was sitting in its red leather case at the opposite end of the shop, on top of the cash box, Kave said.
Kave didn't see anyone lean over the counter to grab the iPad, but when she reached for it to ring up a customer about 1:15 p.m., it was gone.
"You get that sinking feeling in your stomach," Kave said Monday. "They just stole it, right while I was in the shop."
Kave said she did not remember seeing anyone suspicious near her counter on Saturday. But since the shop is right near the market entrance, Kave said people frequently hang out there waiting for friends or spouses to finish shopping.
While there are some surveillance cameras for individual vendors in Essex Market, none of them cover Roni-Sue's Chocolates, Kave said. She reported the crime and is waiting to hear from police about any leads.
"Maybe they'll get some karmic justice," Kave said of the thief.
The 7th Precinct did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Kave just bought the iPad two weeks ago as part of a package with a new cash box and a printer to make it easier to ring up sales and keep track of them.
The thief left the cash box and printer behind, Kave said.
An East Harlem resident and entrepreneur, Kave opened Roni-Sue's Chocolates in Essex Street Market in 2007. She quickly developed a following for her salty-sweet concoctions, including her signature Pig Candy, which is made of fried bacon dipped in milk or dark chocolate.
Kave said she was surprised that a thief had struck her shop in the community-focused Essex Street Market, which is made up of small locally owned businesses, but she said she will keep a closer eye on her property from now on.
"In retrospect, I can see that it could have easily happened," Kave said. "But I don't think like a criminal."