Modesto shaved ice shop gets stolen stamp back with apology

naustin@modbee.comJuly 24, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate textNan Austin
    Title: Education reporter
    Coverage areas: K-12 education, Yosemite Community College District
    Bio: Nan Austin has been a copy editor and reporter at The Modesto Bee for 24 years. She has an economics degree from CSU Stanislaus and previously worked at the Merced Sun-Star and Turlock Journal.
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— The "PV" stamp is back.

A fast-fingered thief made off with customer reward cards and drink stamp of Pura Vida Shaved Ice a week ago, but co-owner Jenna Harvey said it was returned Wednesday morning.

"Somebody taped it to an envelope to our door, and it said 'Sorry.' " Harvey said. "Honesty finally prevailed."

Honesty got a little nudge from a Pura Vida Facebook posting of the pictures from a video of the theft taken at 4:45 p.m. July 16, Harvey said. She won't forget the date, the first day back for Harvey and Pura Vida partner Ryan Woods after getting married.

The newlyweds had customers call with the thief's name and information, but could not get Modesto Police to arrest the man.

Losing a $60 custom stamp, a stack of paper cards and money from the "tips" jar rates as petty theft, said Modesto police Sgt. Rick Applegate. After days have passed, police can issue a citation but not physically arrest a suspect, he said, and against the assaults, robberies and even homicides police also needed to solve, the free smoothies caper got little traction.

"Unfortunately this is a misdemeanor and we are doing the best with the limited resources we have. Sometimes these crimes don't get the attention they need simply because we don't have the resources," Applegate said.

But without the stamp, the business was over a barrel, Harvey said, unable to honor the 5,000-20,000 customer cards in circulation. The tenth shaved ice, expresso drink or smoothie is free, up to a $5.60 value, Harvey said.

Even with stamp in hand, the estimated 50 cards gone means up to $280 in drinks still might be going to a thief and his friends, but that's a risk she said they're willing to swallow.

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