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Resume-Toting Thief Caught on Video Stealing Coffee Shop Tip Jar

By Ben Fractenberg | January 23, 2014 7:26am
Kahve Tip Jar Heist
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HELL'S KITCHEN — It's safe to say she's not getting the job.

A woman pretending to apply for a job at a Hell's Kitchen café last week used her resumé as a view-blocking shield as her male accomplice made off with a tip jar holding about $50 inside, according to workers.

The pair came into Kahve at 779 Ninth Ave. near 52nd Street about 6:20 p.m. on Jan. 13 and walked up to the counter, where the glass mason jar filled with money was sitting next to the cash register, according to surveillance footage.

When manager Rachel Gilmour, who was the only one working in the cafe at the time, turned away from the counter for approximately 20 seconds to wash dishes, the couple sprang into action.

 A woman and a man robbed a tip jar from Hell's Kitchen cafe Kahve at 774 Ninth Avenue on Jan. 13, according to security footage.
Kahve Tip Jar Heist
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The woman held her resumé out to block the view of those in the café and the man quickly tucked the jar into his jacket, according to security footage.

"It's very frustrating," said Gilmour, 28, who added that the couple was already gone by the time she turned around — along with the tip jar.

"What hurts the most is your regular customers are really giving [the tips] to you in a personal way."

The slick duo took pleasure in the ripoff, according to security footage, grinning as they made off with their illicit profits.

"They were both smiling," Gilmour said.

Gilmour added she didn't even realize what had happened until one of the owners, who had been standing outside the small shop, came in and asked about the rude woman who bumped into him while walking inside and failed to apologize.

The owner told her he noticed the woman was carrying a resumé, and didn't think she made the best first impression, Gilmour said.

"I'm drying my hands and the owner comes in and asked if the girl dropped off her resumé," Gilmour added. "I said, "What girl?" About 15 minutes went by when I realized the tip jar was not on the counter.

"All of a sudden it registered."

Tips bulk up workers' salaries with an extra $30 or $40 a day, according to Gilmour.

One of the police officers who came to take the robbery report felt so bad about the heist he personally refilled the jar, Gilmour said.

"The cop gave $5 out of his own pocket," she said.

Another worker, who has been a barista at the café since it opened in May 2012, said it's happened before.

There was a rash of robberies about a year ago when another four or five tip jars were stolen, she said.

The workers said they're learning their lesson.

"You really do have to empty the tip jar often," Gilmour said.

Police sources confirmed that they are inspecting surveillance video in connection to the incident.

They said there have not been any similar incidents in the neighborhood so far, and said the investigation is ongoing.