Claim: Starbucks tip jars too tempting to thieves

by Walter Olson on March 9, 2011

Crestwood, Mo.: “The Starbucks coffee shop here should have known it was inviting trouble by placing a tip jar on an open counter, according to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the estate of a customer who died defending it.” Customer Roger Kreutz saw a teenager grab the jar and gave chase on foot; he was killed when the miscreant backed his car over him. Kreutz’s estate has now filed a suit alleging “that Starbucks ‘did not employ security to prevent the perpetration of such crimes’ and that it ‘invited the act of perpetration of said crime’ by having a tip jar.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

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Prepaying for gas in B.C.
03.15.11 at 12:57 am

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1 Bob Lipton 03.09.11 at 9:06 am

After all, they can always cross-sue the thieves, who must be billionaires.

Bob

2 nevins 03.09.11 at 9:22 am

The kid got a sweetheart deal. Instead of felony murder, he is charged with and pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter for one year of time only. And with the blessing of the family in a tearful staged for the press ‘reunion’ at the site of the murder.
Then the suit against the deep pocket, the kid is not named, and he can freely sing the story that he was tempted beyond all reason by the evil corporation to commit theft and kill a man while fleeing.
If I felt poorly for the family before (they live in my neighborhood) then that is now erased, as the deal with the prosecutor and public ‘forgiveness’ seem nothing more than a well planned stage for a suit.

3 L Nettles 03.09.11 at 9:23 am

Clearly everyone who has left a tip in a tip jar is liable

4 captnhal 03.09.11 at 9:24 am

Strangely, most customers have seen many tip jars over the years and never felt “invited” to steal. Are we to believe that the death was caused by Starbucks and not the thief? This is just another one of those deep pocket cases and blaming the victim of the theft. A one year sentence for a theft that was the direct cause of a man’s death seems far too lenient to me. It seems he also committed assault and battery and fleeing the scene of an accident, if it was truly an accident. As for having security for the tip jar, that would have cost many times the amount in the jar.

5 R 03.09.11 at 9:46 am

How is a tip jar more of an “invitation to steal” than any of the merchandise (food items, newspapers, CDs) they display?

6 B.RAD 03.09.11 at 10:58 am

The kid who killed this man is now planting a tree at the scene of the crime? Really unbelievable. One question though. The security guard who’s guarding the tip jar deserves tips as well. Who’s guarding this jar?

7 Bill Poser 03.09.11 at 11:34 am

Some years ago here in British Columbia a guy filled up his car and then drove off without paying. The attendant ran after him, grabbed the door handle, got his hand stuck, and was dragged to death. This lead to a successful campaign to require prepayment at gas stations, which is very inconvenient if you aren’t able to use a credit card or debit card at the pump. “gas and dash” incidents may have been frequent enough to justify this, but that wasn’t the argument. The argument was that this measure was necessary for the safety of the attendants. Of course, all that is really required for the safety of the attendants is for them not to go running after and grabbing onto fleeing vehicles. The attendant’s death was tragic, but it was a freak accident triggered by the attendant’s brave but foolish attempt to prevent the theft of a rather modest amount of money.

8 Matthew Brown 03.10.11 at 3:14 pm

If there’s something the family should be incensed at, it’s the way insignificant punishment for the killer. Instead, they’re shaking hands with him and going for the money. Ugh.

I’m frankly amazed that you can get only a year in jail for manslaughter in a case as (facially) unsympathetic as this — someone killed by a criminal in the commission of a crime.

9 robert 03.13.11 at 6:45 pm

I’m a non-violent person, and I have no personal interest in this case, but when I see that kid smirking as he’s putting ashes of the guy her murdered near that tree, I feel like “accidentally” running over him with my car.

How on earth is a death occurring from the commission of robbery treated as such a minor offense? Why isn’t this first degree murder?

I can understand why the victims are grasping at straws here. Justice was not served.

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