Stealing from tip jars? Two Idaho men charged with felony – over $30

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Two men are charged with felony after allegedly stealing the tip jar from a Pocatello soda shop and restaurant and taking money from other restaurants.

Jonathon James Keele, 28, of Grace, has been charged with burglary, according to court records. Timothy William Halpin, 27, of Pocatello, has been charged with two burglaries after authorities said he was involved in a similar theft in Chubbuck.

Pocatello Police received a call around 6pm on July 19 from a soft drink shop in Block 4100 of Pole Line Road, reporting a theft, according to an affidavit with probable cause.

When officers arrived, they were shown security videos from inside the company. The images show two men approaching the counter. The first man, later identified as Keele, asked the cashier for water. When the cashier turned to get a cup of water, Keele stepped aside so the second man, later identified as Halpin, could grab the tip jar, police said.

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After grabbing the pot, Halpin ran out of the store. Keele quickly followed. The two men got into a silver Chevrolet Cobalt and drove off, the affidavit said.

Employees told officers the tip jar contained about $25.

Officers said they found Keele a short time later at a motel in the 1300 block of Bench Road.

Keele told officers he was at the soda shop to get water for a passenger in the car. He said he was not aware of Halpin’s intention to take the tip money.

While officers were investigating the theft at the soda shop, another theft was reported at a nearby Mexican restaurant. The description of a man who stole a tip jar from the restaurant matched Halpin. The caller told officers that a driver had been waiting for Halpin in a Chevy Cobalt. The driver’s description matched Keele’s, according to the affidavit.

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The restaurant manager told officers an employee heard the bell ring at the front door, but was unable to get directly to the customer. So the manager checked the video from the front camera and saw the man grab the pot and run out of the restaurant.

Officers noted in their reports that the incident happened just after 4:45 PM. The incident at the soda shop happened nearly an hour later, just before 5:45 PM.

Keele told officers he was asked to pick up his brother’s friend, Halpin, from the restaurant. He told Halpin to get water, so they stopped at the restaurant. He said he didn’t like it when Halpin left the restaurant without water.

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It was later learned that the restaurant’s tip jar contained only $3.

Police officers said they found Halpin around 9:30 a.m. the next morning, walking on 100 block of East Center Street. When officers approached him in their vehicle, Halpin ran away. Officers were able to overtake and arrest him.

He was taken to Bannock County Jail.

Both men are being held, Keele on a $5,000 bond and Halpin on a $40,000 bond.

Keele could face up to 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines. Halpin could face up to 20 years and $100,000 in fines.

Preliminary hearings were waived in both cases. Neither has set a date for the district court’s arraignment.

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