Ex-Cop Battles Starbucks Tip Jar Thief, Saves The Day And $4

Image courtesy of Avitania Satari Bronstein

When is it worthwhile to intervene when you see a crime happening? That was the question raised recently in Orange County, California, when two men resorted to violence over a Starbucks tip jar containing only a few bucks. One was an ex-cop who was buying a drink at Starbucks, and the other a bike-riding thief.

The Orange County Register reports that the tip jar contained “three $1 bills and change.” Yet instead of letting the thief ride off with it, the ex-cop grabbed the cup and refused to let the baddie leave with it. The thief first punched him, then hit him repeatedly with a 40-pound metal sign that happened to be nearby. He reached for his handgun, and the thief ran away, leaving the tip jar behind.

The ex-cop, who is now a police chaplain, says that he would advise members of the public not to do this. His instincts took over, though, and it’s understandable that he would want to stop crime happening right in front of his face.

At the same time, what if someone had been killed or seriously injured in the scuffle over five bucks? The incident has drawn a lot of local discussion on Facebook and the Orange County Register, where people debated the question of whether a few bucks is worth threatening someone with a gun. Does the amount of money at stake matter?

Was a good Samaritan’s scuffle with suspected tip jar thief at Starbucks worth it? Debate erupts [Orange County Register] (Thanks, Gretchen!)

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