Cafe cus­tomer gives chase to re­cover stolen tip jar

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Zoe Keenan

A Kalgoorlie-Boul­der cafe cus­tomer has been hailed a hero after he chased down a woman on foot when she ran off with the staff tip jar on Sun­day.

Mark Hellewell is a reg­u­lar cus­tomer at Cafe 312 on Han­nan Street, and was en­joy­ing his meal when two fe­male cus­tomers caught his at­ten­tion.

“A lady came in with a pram and a toddler, ac­com­pa­nied by a se­cond, preg­nant lady,” Mr Hellewell said. “The lady with the pram went to the counter to buy some­thing but the card was de­clined.”

What pricked the for­mer mil­i­tary ser­vice­man’s at­ten­tion, though, was the se­cond woman, who sat at a ta­ble by the en­trance, hold­ing the door open.

“I thought it was quite strange that she was hold­ing the door open be­cause it was a warm day,” he said.

The two women left the cafe and the preg­nant lady re­turned shortly after­wards.

A se­cu­rity cam­era in the cafe saw the woman swiftly make her way to the counter, grab the tip jar and slip away out of the door.

“She was in, then vir­tu­ally out again straight away, so as soon as I re­alised what had hap­pened I took off after her,” he said.

The footage shows the minute Mr Hellewell fled out­side the en­trance and down Han­nan Street chas­ing after the thief.

“She dis­ap­peared re­ally quickly and I thought there was no way she could have got around the cor­ner of town hall, so my mil­i­tary senses kicked in and I got on the ground to search for feet be­hind the cars,” he said.

“With no luck I thought the only other place she could be was in­side the town hall.”

Sure enough, Mr Hellewell found the woman in­side, try­ing to pry open the tip jar when he asked for it back.

He told the woman he would not call the po­lice be­cause he could see she was preg­nant.

“I told her there were places in town that could help her if she needed money but that she did not need to do this,” Mr Hellewell said.

Cafe 312 man­ager Samiah Umer said she could not thank Mr Hellewell enough.

“There re­ally are some amaz­ing peo­ple in town and we’re so glad to have cus­tomers like Mark,” she said.

Pic­ture: Kelsey Reid

Cafe 312’s Samiah Umer and Darcy Robin­son with tip jar hero Mark Hellewell.

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