Cafe customer gives chase to recover stolen tip jar
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.
Cafe 312’s Samiah Umer and Darcy Robinson with tip jar hero Mark Hellewell.