San Francisco police arrested a 29-year-old man this week after he reportedly stole a canister of charitable donations from a Haight Street McDonald’s and later returned for the food he ordered to distract the cashier during the theft.
John Glass, of San Francisco, was arrested Sunday night and charged with burglary and theft after San Francisco police reviewed a McDonald’s security tape and found Glass in a sleeping bag on the steps of a nearby church with about $100 in change and bills, police said.
Shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday, police said, Glass and an unidentified accomplice, who remains at large, entered the McDonald’s at Haight and Stanyan streets, ordered food from the cashier as a distraction and then detached a donation canister from the counter before fleeing the fast-food chain.
A short time later, Glass and the accomplice returned for the food they had ordered and tried to steal a second donation canister, but were unsuccessful and left the restaurant, police said.
“He came back because he hadn’t gotten his food yet,” McDonald’s supervisor Margie deGroot said.
San Francisco police Officer John Hallisy and his partner, Sean Frost, who both work at Park Station, responded to the call. After reviewing the security tape, the officers launched a neighborhood search for Glass and his accomplice. They halted the search after a couple of hours, Hallisy said.
Around 11 p.m., a priest at St. Agnes Church on Masonic Avenue, five blocks from the McDonald’s, notified police of a homeless encampment on the steps of the building, police said. Hallisy responded and discovered Glass.
“He was laying in a sleeping bag with the same hat on,” Hallisy said. “I don’t think they knew they were on ‘Candid Camera’.”
Most McDonald’s restaurants have donations canisters for the Ronald McDonald House Charities — which helps families of ill children receiving hospital treatments — affixed to the counters. DeGroot said this is the first time someone has stolen one of the bins, although people have tried to fish dollar bills out of the donation slot before, some with success, she added.
“We always say, ‘Hey, don’t do that. This is for the kids,’” she said. “It’s a constant problem.”