Philadelphia Man Allegedly Takes Money from Restaurant's Tip Jar

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 01, 2019 | 0 Comments

A man in Philadelphia could be charged with theft for allegedly taking money from the tip jar at a restaurant in Old City. While he could still face criminal charges, Pennsylvania's theft laws do recognize that the amount taken should be reflected in the potential punishment of a conviction.

Man Allegedly Takes Money from Restaurant Tip Jar

The incident happened around dinner time on March 20, 2019, at the Café Ole restaurant on North 3rd Street in the Old City. According to news reports, one of the patrons took money from the tip jar while another grabbed a customer's backpack. The second patron punched the other customer when he tried getting his bag back.

Both of them ran off.

The Amount Matters for Pennsylvania's Theft Laws

Let's ignore the suspect who had the altercation over the customer's backpack and instead focus on the one who is supposed to have taken money from the coffee shop's tip jar. Odds are that the amount of money he made off with is negligible, and probably $20 at most. Everyone would agree that it would be unfair for the punishment for such an act to be the same as for someone who stole thousands or even millions of dollars.

The theft laws in Pennsylvania reflect that attitude.

Rather than have one standard charge that applies to all instances of theft, 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3903 outlines 6 levels of theft, which depend largely on the amount that was allegedly taken:


Under $50

$50 - $200

$200 - $2,000

$2,000 - $100,000

$100,000 - $500,000

More than $500,000


3rd Degree Misdemeanor

2nd Degree Misdemeanor

1st Degree Misdemeanor

3rd Degree Felony

2nd Degree Felony

1st Degree Felony

Maximum Fine







Maximum Jail Sentence

1 year

2 years

5 years

7 years

10 years

20 years

Other Factors Can Play a Role, Too

The amount taken is not the only thing that can alter a theft charge. What was taken can also impact how the offense is prosecuted and the severity of the penalties. For example, thefts involving the following items can drastically increase the penalties on the table for a conviction:

  • Firearms
  • Cars
  • Boats
  • Airplanes
  • Motorcycles
  • Anhydrous ammonia

Finally, how the incident happened can increase the severity of the offense, as well. For example, thefts that involve force, threat, or abusing a position of trust are treated more harshly than others.

Philadelphia Criminal Defense at LLF Law Firm

Regardless of the severity of the alleged offense, having a conviction for theft on your criminal background can prove to be difficult to overcome, even after the fines have been paid and the jail time served. Defending against the allegation from the outset is essential if you want to protect your future, and hiring a Criminal Law Team is a big part of that process.

Reach out to our Criminal Law Team for the legal representation you need to preserve your rights and future by contacting us online or calling our law office in Philadelphia at 888-535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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