PLAISTOW – Police are looking for a thief who allegedly snatched a jar collecting money for a charity from the counter at a local Dunkin' Donuts and then fled.Officers were called to the restaurant at 74 Plaistow Road (Route 125) just before 3 p.m. on Sunday after workers saw a man walk inside, steal the jar, and then leave in a vehicle driven by a woman, Deputy Police Chief Kathleen Jones said.
The jar theft was caught on surveillance cameras and the video is now being analyzed by police.
"We've got some really good leads and we've got a good description of the person involved," Jones said.
The jar was being used to collect money for a children's charity, but workers weren't exactly sure which charity it was, Jones said. The amount of money in the jar also was not known.
The man was described as wearing a blue bandanna on his head at the time of the theft.
Jones said police occasionally receive reports of collection jars being stolen from local businesses, but it doesn't happen all that often.
"This is a crime of opportunity," she said.
In many cases, Jones said thieves may enter a business with no intention of stealing, but if they look around and see no employees nearby, they may seize the opportunity.
"Sometimes with these thefts the opportunity presents itself and they take it," Jones said.
She warned that often the thief will show up at other businesses to carry out a similar theft.
"If they find it was easy in one location they may try to find similar locations that have jars," Jones said.
Jones said it's important for businesses to keep collection jars in an area where employees will often be present to keep an eye on it, preferably by a cash register.
"They should also be put under the watchful eye of a camera," she said.
Police are asking anyone who was in the parking lot or inside Dunkin' Donuts around the time of the theft and who may have information to call the Plaistow Police Department at 382-1200.