Man caught on camera stealing tips from a jar at NYC coffee shop

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HAMILTON HEIGHTS (PIX11) -- An alleged tip thief who stole from a beloved uptown coffee shop was caught on camera.

Chipped Cup barista Brendan Cayton told PIX11 he "didn't suspect a thing" when the man clad in a blue t-shirt, a messenger bag and glasses came in and ordered a drink.

"I'd never really seen him before . . . he played me like a fool," Cayton said.

Cayton recalled that the man said he'd run to the ATM after his credit card got declined.

While Cayton was making the next customer's drink, the man allegedly stole from the tip jar.  When Cayton rang up the next customer, he noticed the tip jar was almost completely empty.

The bewildered barista ran down street to try and catch the man but to no avail.

Luckily, it was all caught on surveillance.

"What really bothers me is that I use the tips to save for my wedding," Cayton said. "He really got under my skin."

The story and pictures were passed around New York via Harlem Public and The Chipped Cup's Facebook pages. Later, the story was popular on reddit.

The Chipped Cup is "a bit of a local favorite" uptown.

The small farmer's trade coffee shop has been open for two years in Hamilton Heights.

"If he was down in the dumps, I'd be the first to help out," Cayton said, who says if he ever go the chance he would just want to ask the man why he did it.

We're not sure anyone could speak to the reasoning of a tip thief, except maybe George Costanza:

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