01/11/2013 12:31 pm ET Updated Jan 12, 2013

La Septima Cafe Turns To Facebook To Catch Tip Thief (VIDEO)

A restaurant in Brandon, Fla., is using Facebook to track down a woman who stole money from the cashier’s tip jar.

On Tuesday at La Septima Cafe, a woman showed up complaining about a take-out order, but was then caught on surveillance video taking tips, reports WTSP 10 News. In response, owner Dahlia Fernandez posted the video and images of the theft to Facebook with the message, “Do you know her?

The social media outreach hasn’t produced any leads yet, and the alleged thief is still at large, Fernandez told HuffPost. But the video, which has been shared online more than 400 times, sparked an outpouring of support for the cashier Nikki McPherson, a 24-year-old single mom of two.

An anonymous customer recently left a $100 tip for McPherson, and local bank employees scrounged together $50 for the young mother soon after the video appeared online, Fernandez told HuffPost. Click over to WTSP 10 News to read McPherson's response to the support.

Fernandez isn’t the first business owner to use Facebook to track down a thief. Sam Drummond, a Florida used-phone salesman, reportedly used the social network to identify a pair of bandits who robbed him of $2,000 in cash.

The efficacy of Facebook as a way of catching criminals has even prompted the New York Police Department to create a separate department whose job it is to comb social media channels for evidence and other information about crimes. One perpetrator of a mass identity-theft scheme in New York, who had eluded police for over 10 months, was reportedly caught only after his cohorts tweeted the location of his birthday party.

As for Fernandez, she’s still hopeful that her social media move will eventually lead to some justice. "My tip to her would be don't do something like that again,” Fernandez told reporters at WTSP 10 News, “because you don't know where your face is going to show up."



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