Stolen items returned to coffee shop after sarcastic video posted

Stolen items returned after sarcastic video posted
Pa. coffee shop owner put a comically captioned surveillance video online of a man stealing several art objects from store AP/YouTube

(CBS/AP) PITTSBURGH - A shoplifter had an apparent change of heart after a Pennsylvania coffee shop owner put a comically captioned surveillance video online of the man stealing several art objects from her store.

Entitled "He forgot to pay for the Tiger," the short video was posted on Facebook and other sites by shop owner Laurie Edwards after her $700 tiger wood carving and other items were stolen March 29 from her Presque Isle Gallery Coffeehouse in the Erie suburb of Millcreek Township.

Laurie also gave the surveillance video to police and showed it to friends to publicize the thefts.

"Well, that's my sarcasm," Edwards told The Associated Press, referring to her video.

When Edwards arrived for work Friday, she learned someone had left the wooden tiger and other stolen items in a large garbage bag in front of her business, only hours after the Erie Times-News website published a story and a copy of her video.

Edwards said the shoplifter took not only the tiger carving but also a stone pig-shaped pen holder and a piece of framed art. Edwards said she was still working with police to catch the thief.

"Heck yeah, I don't want him doing it to anybody else," she said. "I want to keep this place safe. I've got a good little thing going here, and I don't want anything to mess this up. I want to know who this guy is."

Millcreek police Lt. William Detisch said police are hoping additional surveillance video has captured an image of the person who returned the items. He said police also hope to get fingerprints they can use.

He said he suspects Edwards' video prompted the return of the items.

"Well, I would think that he was feeling some kind of pressure and felt he was gonna get caught," Detisch said. "I'm only assuming, though."

Whoever took the items will still be charged with theft, even though the property was returned. The issue of restitution might go the culprit's way, however.

Edwards was just happy the case seemed to be moving in the right direction. She could use a break after just finishing up radiation treatments for cancer.

"I've still got a 17-centimeter cut on the front of my gut, and then I've got this creep," she said.