$25 tip jar thief ends up in jail

There was $25.30 in the tip jar in the Quadrant Bar in Hamilton, that was swiped by Stephen Rangitawa Te Whatu (file photo).
Chris Skelton/Fairfax NZ

There was $25.30 in the tip jar in the Quadrant Bar in Hamilton, that was swiped by Stephen Rangitawa Te Whatu (file photo).

A man who stole $25 out of a tip jar in a Hamilton bar has a year and a half in jail to consider his actions.

Hamilton man Stephen Rangitawa Te Whatu, 43, was jailed for 18 months when he appeared in the Hamilton District Court on Friday, on one charge of shoplifting and one charge of breaching the conditions of his ongoing sentence of extended supervision.

Te Whatu had gone to the quadrant bar in Victoria Street, Hamilton, at 7.45pm on June 7.

He went to the counter and asked if he could take some money out of the eftpos machine, which he could use to play the pokies.

About 15 minutes later he was spotted by the bar manager tipping money from the tip jar on the counter into his hand, and then putting his hand into his pocket.

There had been $25.30 in the tip jar.

The supervision breach related to his associating with someone he was not allowed to associate with - an express transgression of the terms on an earlier sentence for sexual offending.

Judge Robert Spear was not impressed by that and also clearly not amused by the tip jar theft.

"That was miserable offending on your part and it tells me an awful lot about yourself."

The judge had a victim impact statement from the bar's manager, who was highly aggrieved by the brazenness of Te Whatu's theft.

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"It's the first time I have heard of someone stealing from a tip jar in a bar," Judge Spear said.

From a starting point of 12 months in jail on the breach charge, the judge added nine months in acknowledgement of Te Whatu's previous convictions - including 12 dishonesty offences - but then gave him a discount for his guilty plea, ending with a final sentence of 18 months.

 - Stuff

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