By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Social media helps solve Dutch Bros. theft

The theft occurred about 1 p.m. Tuesday.

About nine hours later, Eric Eugene Calhoun, 22, of 1208 S. Jellison St., went to the McMinnville police station and turned himself in. He was cited to appear in McMinnville Municipal Court at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30,  on one count of third-degree theft, a Class C misdemeanor.

Symons gave this account:

Calhoun, accompanied by an adult female, ordered a drink. He and the barista engaged in about 30 seconds of conversation, after which he drove off without paying.

The barista then noticed the tip jar was missing. The barista estimated the take at $15, but Calhoun said he actually netted less than $6.

Symons said he had no way of accounting for the discrepancy.

Kory Spencer, owner of McMinnville’s two Dutch Bros. franchises, contracts with A & E Security and Electronic Solutions to meet its security needs.

A & E owner Mike Ellsberry said, “He was out of town when this happened. I got a call from the barista, who wanted to know if I could help them out.

“It happened that I got a call quickly and retrieved the video quickly. We had the still photos, and I said, ‘Let me post these on our Facebook page.”

He said, “Hundreds of people shared the photos and thousands of people saw them. It turned out to be a super-cool event.”

Ellsberry said Spencer told him tip jars are a frequent target.

“His attitude seemed to be that this is the cost of doing business, there’s not much money in those tip jars, so it’s more hassle than it’s worth trying to find someone,” Ellsberry said. “But I told him, ‘You’re creating a pattern here. You’re inviting a more escalating experience.”

He believes the fact Calhoun was caught on camera stealing the tip jar, and multiple images of him were quickly posted on Facebook, will discourage repeats in the future.

If so, Symons is all for it. “Social media has assisted us greatly in solving some recent crimes,” he noted.

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