Restaurant thieves, don’t assume you’ll get away with stuffing copper mugs down your pants. Tonic at Quigley’s owner Jeremy Pollok is fed up with people stealing from his bar and restaurant, and he’s finally doing something about it. The George Washington University student newspaper The GW Hatchet published a story earlier this week about students stealing from eateries near campus that included a tidbit about freshman Caroline Kapcio taking linen napkins from Foggy Bottom’s Tonic.
“It’s honestly just so much easier and cheaper than buying paper towels or dish towels when I need to clean something up. And it’s classy looking,” Kapcio told The Hatchet.
Tonic’s staff found a photo of Kapcio on Facebook and created a wanted poster with her image, her quotes from the article, and the message “THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.” They posted it in the comments section of the article and on Facebook, although Pollok says Facebook took it down because it was flagged as “inappropriate content.” Now, the wanted poster is hanging behind the bar for everyone to see. (Y&H reached out to Kapcio via Facebook, but no word back yet.)
“We’re not trying to be mean, it’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek thing,” Pollok says. “But it is a serious issue, don’t get me wrong.”
The linen napkins, for example, only cost 79 cents a piece, but every week, Tonic loses at least $25 worth of them. (Presumably, Kapcio isn’t the only guilty party, unless she’s converted her dorm room into a linen closet.) Over the course of a year, Pollok estimates the business loses $5,000 to $6,000 worth of stolen goods, including salt and pepper shakers, Ketchup bottles, candle votives, silverware, glassware, and even toilet paper spindles. “I just want to know what they’re using them for,” Pollok says of the things that keep the toilet paper in place.
But more than the financial impact, Pollok says it’s frustrating when the bar runs out of things. “People complain there’s no ketchup on the table, well, because the last table stole it,” he says.
So what will Pollok do if he actually catches the napkin thief with his wanted sign? “Maybe I’ll present her with a bill with a linen tax,” he says. “I’m guessing she’s not going to steal anymore because she’s probably getting a lot of grief from people, more so for admitting it and putting her name attached to it.”
Read more about why people like to steal from restaurants in Y&H’s recent column.
Photo courtesy Tonic at Quigley’s