Thief! Silly Things People Steal From Restaurants

Photo courtesy of
‘Day 303/365 – French Twofer (Deux Pour?)’
courtesy of ‘Kevin H.’

A while ago I was sitting at the bar at Stardust (RIP, I miss that place!) and the bartenders were telling my friend and I all about the people who would steal the salt and pepper shakers right off the tables. Stardust was known for quirky condiment containers, like two pigs dancing, or cactus-shaped shakers. You get the idea. And ever since that conversation I’ve been interested in whatall people steal from restaurants.

So I asked around, and behold, dear reader, a list of the ridiculous things that people steal from restaurants around DC.

The scene: Cafe Saint-Ex
Items Stolen: The bust of the Roman God Mercury, an antique three foot tall ash tray, patio plants
Jasmin Quioco, the Director of Community Outreach at Cafe Saint-Ex, reminisces, “A few years ago I was setting up for brunch and saw a guy struggling to bring in a covered object into the restaurant. When I opened the door, he said, ‘I’m really sorry, my friends and I had a few too many drinks last night and this ended up in my apartment. We love Saint-Ex and wanted to bring it back.’ They had stolen the heavy bust of Mercury that sits next to table 4.”

The scene: Whitlow’s on Wilson
Item Stolen: Harry S. Truman
Manny Fliakas, General Manger of Whitlow’s, remembers, “Last year, I received a manila envelope with no return address and inside was a framed picture of Harry S. Truman. We had this picture on the wall by the main bar and it was stolen four years prior. The letter attached stated that the individual who stole it was cleaning out their house and preparing to move when they came across the picture. They apologized for their childish actions and assured me they had become a better person.”

proof photo

The scene: Proof
Items Stolen: A framed photograph of a naked lady (see above)
This photo hangs on the wall above one of the urinals in the men’s restroom at Proof. Luckily, they figured out who stole it from the security camera outside of the building, recognized him and contacted him for its retrieval. He brought it back, along with a bottle of Scotch as a gift and an apology.

The scene: Kushi Izakaya:
Items Stolen: Well-crafted chopsticks and chopstick holders, unique and decorative sake cups
Ari Kushimoto, Co-Owner at Kushi says, “The number one item stolen is chopsticks. People love them too much to a point that they want a pair or two for their home!”

bessie the pig

The scene: Jackson 20
Items Stolen: Bessie the pig (see above), Andrew Jackson, Hamlet the pig
GM Reagan Corbett says, “Jackson 20 has had a number of items stolen from the restaurant – from the pig napkin rings to the bronze statue of Bessie the pig, which sits at the entrance of the restaurant. We had a search and rescue out for Bessie and she was returned 24 hours later. Turns out she was kidnapped by a guest in the middle of the night who took her home in a cab, but brought her back the next day. Recently, we had a small bust of Andrew Jackson and a set of antlers with funny stories from the opening of our restaurant, stolen from the restaurant – they were in the window sill at the back of the dining room. Basically, everything that we use for event table décor has been taken, including Hamlet #1, our mini bronze pig who was stolen from the dining room. Now, Hamlet #2 goes to the office every night at about 10 p.m. – we keep him in the safe so no one takes him too.”

The scene: Cork Wine Bar
Items Stolen: Flower vases, wine lists, wine glasses full of wine
Diane Gross, Co-Owner of Cork says,”What do people steal from a wine bar? Well wine lists of course! They also walk out the door with wine glasses full of wine. We have to chase them down when they do this and politely ask them to leave their glasses on the table.”

The scene: Restaurant 3
Item Stolen: A decorative 3-foot pepper mill
Jonathan Williams, Owner of Restaurant 3, says, “A couple weeks ago, someone stole our decorative 3-foot pepper mill. Luckily, the owner of a nearby restaurant saw the culprit standing outside of his place very late that night and recognizing the painted pepper mill, took it back from the guy and brought it to us. It was all pretty funny.”

Katie moved to DC in 2007, and has since embarked upon a love affair with the city. She’s an education reform advocate and communications professional during the day; at night and on the weekends, she’s an owner here at We Love DC. Katie has high goals to eat herself through the entire city, with only her running shoes to save her from herself. For up-to-the-minute news and reviews (among other musings), follow her on Twitter!

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