POLICE have appealed for help to identify a man they would like to speak to in connection with the theft of charity and tip jars from Cleveland cafes.
Police said two Middle Street cafes were targeted on September 3 and a third two days later.
An angry Brown's Bakery Cafe spokeswoman said they had shared security camera footage on social media, as had another store.
"Cafes usually have a tip or charity jar and it makes you angry (for it to be stolen)," the spokeswoman said. "Our customers are angry too."
Police said staff at one cafe had stopped a man after he tried to take the charity jar. It is not known whether the three cases are linked.
Bakery staff discovered the cerebral palsy organisation's tin had been stolen about a week after the theft because it was due to be collected.
They noticed the jar had gone but when the charity phoned about its collection realised it may have been stolen.
"That was when we looked at the CCTV footage," the spokeswoman said.
The footage shows a man pulling the jar - which was stuck to the counter with double-sided tape - off the counter while a staff member behind the counter was getting him a bread roll.
"He bought the cheapest thing he could get and the thing that would give him the maximum amount of time for the staff member to get," she said. "It was well planned and executed."
The spokeswoman said she had later found that a tip jar had been stolen from a nearby cafe about 10 minutes before.
It was not the first time charity money had been stolen.
"Double-sided tape might not be enough," she said. "We collect (for charities) in good faith and customers give in good faith too."
Asked if she would keep jars in the cafe, the woman said that if she did not, criminals would win.
"People like to donate their lose change, and if we don't do it, where will the charities get money from to keep operating?" she said.
"Double-sided tape might not be enough but what else can we do, other than chaining and bolting them down?"
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