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Copper Thieves Targeting Special 'Moscow Mule' Mugs At Restaurants, Bars

SACRAMENTO (CBS 13) -- They pay for the drink then they make off with the cup, forcing restaurants to foot the bill. But these aren't your average shot glasses. We're talking about pricey copper cups.

Copper is very expensive these days and CBS 13 learned that some businesses are taking extra steps to keep the cups on their shelves.

The drink is called a "Moscow Mule" -- a mixture of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice served on ice -- and one of the reasons it's so popular is because of the special shiny copper mug it's served in, a real head-turner for bar patrons.

At the Hook and Ladder Manufacturing Co. in midtown, bar brass tell CBS 13 the "beautiful, eye-catching" mugs have customers frequently interested in trying the drink when they spot others holding the mugs.

The problem? Customers keep walking out with the mugs once they finish the drink.

"It's not surprising. People like to get trinkets from anywhere and if they can steal something from a bar, why not?" said one bar patron.

But the souvenirs don't come cheap for the bars forced to replace them, selling anywhere from $15 to $25 to replace.

Bartenders are forced now to ask a very uncomfortable question: they're requiring patrons to give them their IDs to hold while they hold the mug.

So why not just use another glass for the drink?

"It's a metal that really distributes all the nice ice cold feeling that you want out of a refreshing drink," one bartender explained.

Bars sell hundreds of Moscow Mules every week, and they don't want to take away the mugs so they're left with little choice. Only time will tell if the new ID system helps deter the thieves.

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