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Money jar stolen from Pequot Lakes Dairy Queen

A pair of customers at the Pequot Lakes Dairy Queen walked out with more than their food recently. As the location was preparing to close for the night Sunday, Aug. 30, two individuals came in and ordered food. At one point they both went to the ...

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Stills from the Pequot Lakes Dairy Queen Surveilance shows these two individuals leaving the restaurant with a donation jar for Kids Against Hunger. One or both are also suspected of vandalising the bathroom. Submitted photo
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A pair of customers at the Pequot Lakes Dairy Queen walked out with more than their food recently.

As the location was preparing to close for the night Sunday, Aug. 30, two individuals came in and ordered food. At one point they both went to the restroom. They came out to inform the server at the cash register that someone had defecated all over the bathroom.

"They told my employee that there was a mess," said owner and manager Lisa Kaneski. "When he came and told me about it, he said, 'I think it was the dad and the son that did it.' I said, 'No, they were probably just laughing because it was a mess.'"

Kaneski changed her tune the next day, when her employees noticed something was missing - a large jar holding donations for Kids Against Hunger.

"When we realized Monday that the jar was taken, I looked back through the video," Kaneski said. "There were those two incidents related in my mind to kind of seal the deal that they did it. Regardless, we have them on video taking the jar."

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While employees were distracted by the mess in the bathroom, the video shows the two taking the jar and leaving. At the time, Kaneski said the jar was full. When it is full, she said, it usually has approximately $250 in it.

"I'd be surprised if it were someone local," said Pequot Lakes Police Chief Eric Klang. "I believe these people were coming through the area, stopped in there and most likely saw the jar of money there and thought it was an opportunity to take it. They decided to distract the person at the counter. When they go back to check on the bathroom, they just grabbed it and took off out the door. Obviously they haven't been there before because, certainly, the clerks recognize people who come in regularly."

To recuperate the donations, a Gofundme page was created online. By Tuesday morning, the site had raised $485.

"The cool thing is, within 10 minutes of that post people had already started to contribute money toward that," Kaneski said. "In the end, this could be a way to raise awareness for a really great cause. People are already starting to contribute to getting that money back for them."

Donations to the charity are always welcome. There are jars at several local businesses. Donations are also accepted at Kids Against Hunger in Nisswa or can be made electronically to www.gofundme.com/rh39emhs.

Police have received some tips regarding the possible identities of the individuals involved.

In addition to identifying those responsible, Klang said they are interested in finding the jar, and would welcome tips regarding any jars with the Kids Against Hunger logo. If anyone is caught, charges would be determined by the amount of money that was ultimately taken.

"Whether it's gross misdemeanor or felony has to be determined," Klang said. "Some other charges as well as we investigate this further. We will definitely look at other charges."

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Images from the security footage show the two individuals taking the jar after allegedly defacing the bathroom. The face of the taller individual is not recognizable because he wears a hat. The server at the counter was unable to give a detailed description of the taller of the two. It is known that both appeared to be male. The server assumed they were father and son. Kaneski estimated the taller of the two may be in his late 20s or early 30s. Tips may be submitted to the Pequot Lakes Police Department by calling 218-568-8111.

Related Topics: THEFT
Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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