Baby's On Fire dealing with tip jar thieves

Coffee shop robbed three times in 6 months
Posted at 3:25 PM, Oct 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-26 19:43:21-04

Baby's On Fire is trying a new way of collecting tips, so thieves stop targeting their shop.

Wednesday was the third time the record store café had its tip jar stolen. The robbery was caught on-camera.

A person in a red hooded sweatshirt is seen propping open the door, while the person in the white hooded sweatshirt grabs the tip jar and runs.

“It took him a couple of tries but he just ripped it right off,” said Shirlé Koslowski, owner of Baby's On Fire.

Koslowski and her husband have seen it happen two times prior.

“It's happened by these two kids twice, and by an unknown girl the first time, which was about four months ago, five months ago,” she said.

Koslowski's husband recognized the person in the video. She said he came in a few days earlier, didn't buy anything, and seemed suspicious. Then he walked in again on Wednesday. 

“He came back in and my husband recognized him immediately, as soon as he came in even though he had his hoody up and acknowledged him,” said Koslowski.

While the two thieves didn't get away with much, it was still a blow to the employees working behind the counter and putting in the effort.

“They work really, really hard. And although we pay them really well, it's just a bonus. It's something they definitely look forward to and if those kids had come in and just asked if there was a simple job, we would've given them the $15-$20 that they stole out of the jar for sweeping the sidewalk or doing windows or something, we would've totally helped them out,” said Koslowski.

Instead, the shop is having to change up the way they collect coins and cash.

“This morning, we decided to try to make it into a fun situation and I screwed two holes into the counter and now we have a voting tip system. So, you can vote every day. We're going to have a different thing to vote for with your tips so either musicians, mayonnaise/mustard, dogs/cats, could be anything,” Koslowski said.

Baltimore City police said they’re looking into the matter.

Koslowski added that she’s heard from other businesses in the neighborhood who have also had their tip jars stolen recently.