SAN ANGELO, TX — The crime ring that struck Stango’s Coffee Shop, 221 S Chadbourne St. in downtown San Angelo, has been broken up and the stolen money returned, said proprietor Steve Stango. The crime ring was short-lived and Stango credited the San Angelo Police Department for helping him retrieve all of his money back.
Thursday night, Mr. Stango discovered that approximately $150 in cash he was counting on the front counter of his popular coffee shop was missing. He reviewed video surveillance that was trained on the counter and saw what he described (and what was seen on camera) as a juvenile male swiping the cash and making a getaway,
Stango retrieved the footage and distributed it via the Internet. San Angelo LIVE! created screenshots of the alleged perpetrator and published a news story of Stango’s possible theft. Later Friday, Stango announced that there was a second burglary that night with more suspects. A second video was published.
“As soon as his pictures were up on the Internet, he came and gave the money back,” Stango said of the first suspect. Stango promised if the person pictured in the video returned the cash, he would not press charges. Stango kept his word.
“The first theft happened at 9:31 p.m., 31 minutes after I closed,” Stango said. Stango has a residence above his coffee shop. “I was there upstairs when it happened,” Stango said.
According to Stango, the first kid walked into the coffee shop after Stango forgot to lock the door. “He wanted to buy a soda pop,” Stango said. When the would-be customer approached the counter, he was originally looking for counter help, thinking the shop was still open. “That’s when he saw the cash laying on the counter, and grabbed it,” becoming a burglar instead, Stango said. “I always count the end-of-day cash before putting it into a bank bag for the daily deposit.”
Stango hadn’t finished counting or putting the money in the bag yet.
“Of the 2,500 times a year that I walk through the front door of Stango’s every year, I failed this one time to remember to lock the door!” Stango said.
“The kid grabbed the cash and told his friends there was probably more money in the register,” Stango explained. That’s when two or three others walked in, through the unlocked door, and plundered the cash register. There was an additional $85 in the cash register, Stango said. In all, forgetting to lock the door Thursday night could have cost Stango $235.
“The second crew came in not three minutes after the first kid left,” Stango said, referring to the time stamp on the video footage.
When the first kid turned himself in, Stango said police leaned on the kid to give them information about the other two who plundered the cash register. “I don’t know if he told on his friends, but he probably let them know later that police were looking for them and they should return the cash,” Stango said.
Before long, Stango said, the $85 from the register was returned as well.
Stango declined to press charges on any of the alleged thieves. “They’re just kids. They returned the cash and don’t need this kind of stuff on their record,” Stango said.