Coffee shop's tip jar thief strikes again

STOW -- Oops! He did it again.

The tip jar thief is back at Nervous Dog Coffee Shop in Stow, and, apparently, he didn't learn his lesson.

Channel 3 News first brought you this story around Thanksgiving, when the coffee shop's response created quite the controversy: Instead of reporting the guy, they tried to help him.

This time around they're disappointed but not angry. The staff and owner are taking it as yet another opportunity to raise awareness and help the community.

Nervous Dog baristas now call him "Pete Repeats," because they still haven't identified the tip jar thief. "Pete" couldn't stay away this year, and the staff couldn't believe their eyes.

"It was actually quite bizarre how completely similar it was," Nervous Dog manager Emily Dee said. "Very casual. It was almost as if he and I were making eye contact as it was happening because I was on to him."

He took about $6, the same amount he not-so-slyly got away with in November.

"It's almost a feeling of being taken advantage of at that point," Dee said.

But instead of getting bitter, they got sweet. What started as a local food drive the first time around for the tip thief has blossomed into a full-blown community partnership with the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank called "Coffee with a Purpose." Every bag sold provides eight meals.

"We felt it was a good common thread to tie the community together," Nervous Dog owner Michael Litt said. "People need to eat, and they may not look hungry, but they feel it. It's humbling how many people came together in the name of humanitarianism."

The first time it happened, the donations came in from across the country, and the effort continues to grow. The staff thinks it's the right approach, even if others don't.

"I am very grateful to have been able to create such a positive story off of such an unfortunate event," Dee said.

The baristas don't think he'll strike again, but Litt said he wouldn't be that upset if he did because of all the good that's come from it.

Also, they did replace the original tip jar with a skinny cylinder glass one after the first incident, but it broke. So, they started using the old one again because it was made by a regular, and they're willing to risk it.


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