South Loop Peet's Coffee customers tackle tip jar thief who attacked employee

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A passerby captured the brave actions of South Loop Peet's Coffee customers, who tackled and held down a would-be tip jar thief who attacked an employee.

The cell phone video was captured just moments after customers were able to stop the man.

"This guy they have pinned on the ground was acting real erratic," says someone in the video.

The incident happened Wednesday morning at Peet's Coffee and Tea in the South Loop.

"The South Loop is going crazy right now," said Ciana Bell, who picks up a latte from that location every morning. "There have been so many incidents in this area."

Witnesses said around 9:30 a.m., the suspect wandered into the business after first banging on the shops' glass windows. Once inside, police said the man then took a glass tip jar with money in it from the counter.

Police said a man who works at the shop tried to stop the would-be thief from taking the tip jar. The man then hit that employee over the head with it. People inside the shop, who saw the attack, tackled the man and detained him until officers arrived as others called 911 for help for the injured employee.

"I really hope the employee is OK, and I'm really sorry to hear what happened, said South Loop resident Mike Sands. "I hope it doesn't happen again."

The incident has left some residents on edge, who say the neighborhood has changed ever since the civil unrest in the summer of 2020. Most would like to see more of a police presence.

The injured worker was taken to a local hospital for treatment, and his attacker is expected to undergo a mental health evaluation.

After our report aired, Peet's released the following statement: "Peet's Coffee is addressing an incident that occurred at our East 8th St. location this morning. The location is temporarily closed until further notice. An employee was injured by an individual and has been transferred to Northwestern Medical Center for treatment and is responding well. The individual who caused the incident was not a Peet's Coffee employee and was arrested and removed by authorities. Peet's Coffee is working closely with the Chicago police department and is unable to comment further while their investigation continues. Our thoughts are with our employee and their family at this time."
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