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Cell Phone Stolen from the DINER at 14th & 9th

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  • Cell Phone Stolen from the DINER at 14th & 9th

    So, tell me what you guys make of this. Am I getting screwed or what? I was at the DINER on 14th & 9th last week, and I left my cell phone on the table. Later that night after several hours of thinking I had simply mis-placed it I finally realized I had left it there. So, I went down to see if someone had turned it in. They said no one had.

    It was not the first time I've left my cell phone in a restaurant. It's happened a couple of times before - over the years. But it was the first time the restaurant didn't have it when I went back to get it. The other two restaurants where I had left my phone - an employee had always turned it in. But not at the DINER. The DINER is the first restaurant where I've lost a cell phone where I highly suspect that one of their employees actually took it.

    A little background, because some might ask why I'm so sure I left it there, and why I'm so sure an employee took it. One, I distinctly remember taking it out of my pocket and putting it on the table just before I left. And two, I was having lunch there because I was waiting on my bike to get fixed at the bike shop just around the corner on 14th. Right after I left the DINER, I went directly to the bike shop. I remember looking up at the clock on the bike shop wall after I had been there waiting for a good while and I distinctly remember that the digital clock read 4:38. The first call made on my cell phone by the thief was placed at 4:14. All of that makes perfect sense in that I was in the DINER from about 3:15 to approximately 4. Also, there were no other customers sitting near where I was - at the time when I left. The place was pretty much empty except for a table nearby of two guys - who were engaged in a long-running conversation when I left.

    I found out that many calls had been made on it after 4 - and one call was to Mexico. I called DINER and asked, and they said they had several Mexican workers. It seemed quite likely that one of them had taken it. I went back the next day and talked to the manager, who brought in Sergio, the owner. They were both very nice and apparently trying to be as helpful as they could. Sergio, I was told, actually watched the video of me having lunch, and then he watched who came by the table afterwards. A few days later, he questioned the guy who cleaned the table. I was pretty miffed that he let so much time go by, but he didn't want to question him until the next time he came into work, which was a couple of days after the incident. I don't know why he wouldn't have called him in immediately, while the trail could have still been hot.

    Anyway, he told me that the guy "said he didn't take it, and I think he was very sincere in what he said, so I don't think it was him." He also told me this guy was Ecuadorian, so he didn't think he could have been the one who took it - since he wouldn't be making calls to Mexico. He said there was another guy working at that time who was Mexican and he would question him when he came in the next day. He said he'd call me back after he talked to him - but he didn't. That was the last I heard from him. I assume he questioned the Mexican guy and was convinced he didn't take it either.

    But I have several lingering questions. Is it completely out of the realm of possibility for an Ecuadorian to call Mexico? And if so, isn't it then possible that the Ecuadorian guy could have told his Mexican pal with whom he was working that day about his great find of my cell phone and lent it to the Mexican guy to make a call on. Or, maybe he could have sold it to the Mexican guy for that matter. I just don't see how the fact that the guy who cleaned my table (who I suspect is the one who took the phone since he was the first one to the table after I left, according to the video) - I don't see how the fact that he wasn't Mexican exonerates him. Calls to Mexico could have only been made if a Mexican had been the first one to spot and take my phone? That's what Sergio seems to be suggesting.

    On the other hand, Sergio seemed to sincerely want to help me find the phone. And my sense of him was that he's the kind of guy who really has an intuitive sense about people. I find that many restaurant owners are really good about sizing up their employees as people, and I think Sergio probably falls into that category. He speaks fluent Spanish too, so he can speak to them in their native language. And I think that gives him a little extra credibility when he says he believes the guy.

    But on the other hand, wouldn't an employee who steals be able to pull off looking "very sincere" in his denail? I've seen people who turned out to be very guilty in the end, who looked very sincerely innocent when first questioned!

    My main question though is - am I getting screwed? Should I take Sergio's word for it that this guy wasn't guilty. And what should I make of the fact that he didn't call me back to tell me what the other guy said? I'm sure he's got a lot bigger things to worry about than my phone, but what do you make of an owner of a restaurant who doesn't take it seriously enough when one of his employees is suspected of stealing from a customer to at least call the customer back and keep him informed of his investigation?

    I am first mad at myself for leaving the phone there. But I'm not sure if I should be mad at the restaurant as well for not doing, in my opinion, enough to find it. From what I know, he never ended up questioning the other guy - the Mexican guy who was working that day. And if he did, he never called to tell me about it. So, I have my doubts as to how hard he was really willing to work to find my phone. I honestly in the end, despite how nice he seemed to be, I honestly think he was more interested in protecting his employees than he was in finding my phone. That's just my gut feeling.

    Anyway, for what it's worth, in the last 10 years, I've lost my phone in 3 restaurants, and the DINER is the first one where it wasn't actually turned in.

    The moral to the story - if you eat at the DINER - be very conscious of your phone! Don't leave it there! By the way, I actually like the place very much, but I just won't use my phone next time I go there!

  • #2
    Re: Cell Phone Stolen from the DINER at 14th & 9th

    well- it's definitely NOT a "neighborhood" place.

    when i went there many weeks ago with a friend, just to check it out (i too, miss the country/city diner) i mentioned to the waitress that i had lived on the block for 21 years and had witnessed a lot of change. then i realized i had probably moved into my apartment before she was born! and she just stared at me, anyway. so- there y'go.


    • #3
      Re: Cell Phone Stolen from the DINER at 14th & 9th


      Being screwed is never pleasant--and screwed you were.
      My advice:
      Report said Diner to the BBB
      Tell Sergio you are doing so (this may cause the cell to suddenly appear)

      I will never patronize this establishment. Based on your telling of the story, Sergio is probably covering his behind, with little remorse. It is so sad when people think that it is OK to take advantage of the more fortunate.


      • #4
        Re: Cell Phone Stolen from the DINER at 14th & 9th

        sorry about phone...drop it you have no proof as to who took it and you cant expect the owner to can someone with no proof..i worked in a restaurant for many years and some cell phones were found and some not
        ..just be more careful and keep it in your pocket...


        • #5
          Re: Cell Phone Stolen from the DINER at 14th & 9th

          Yes, well first let me say - I'm certainly not suggesting a boycott of the place! I'll even go back myself. And you're right, there is no proof. Although there's very little question as to what happened because due to the time of day - 4:00 - and the fact there were far more employees in the place than there were customers, it's not a hard guess to figure out what happened. But I didn't want him to fire anybody, I just wanted him to follow up with the second employee - which he apparently didn't do.

          The first "stolen" call was made too soon after I left for it to have been anyone other than an employee - and most likely the one who cleaned my table right after I left. He surely would have seen the phone sitting there.

          I agree completely, that I just need to be more careful. Of course. But from my perspective Sergio really didn't pursue this as energetically as he could have. To simply ask one employee if he took a phone and to accept his denial, just says to me he's far more interested in protecting his own people than he is in helping a customer find a phone they left in his restaurant.

          From my perspective, I know I left it on that table at that time and that one of his employees picked it up and began using it within minutes of the time I left. But I can understand it form his perspective as well. From his perspective he doesn't know for sure that I left it there. I could be making the whole thing up as far as he's knows, so I can understand why he may not pursue it more strongly. But, it is really annoying that the owner of a fine establishment isn't a little more willing to advocate for his customer when it's pretty clear to everyone involved what happened.


          • #6
            Re: Cell Phone Stolen from the DINER at 14th & 9th

            Wow! Well, I have to give credit where credit is due and I just got a phone call from Sergio - saying he found my phone! He said one of the bus boys took it (as we suspected) and started to feel bad about it so he turned it in! So, I'll give the bus boy credit as well for having a conscious and doing the right thing - eventually. And I should add this whole thing still cost me a few hundred dollars getting a new phone. So, it wasn't totally without cost. But I'm glad the bus boy had a conscious and I'm glad Sergio did whatever he did to bring him to the point of wanting to hand it over.

            The thing I'm left wondering though is - did my post here have anything to do with it? Sergio didn't mention it and I didn't ask (I don't think it's the kind of thing someone would admit to), but it does make me wonder...


            • #7
              Re: Cell Phone Stolen from the DINER at 14th & 9th

              There was a video tape of you eating lunch and your table afterward. Sounds like some proof to me.

              Probably the bus-boy found out they could track him down through the calls he made. I think it was more like fear (illegal alien?) then a conscious.

              Anyhow....I think all this speaks to not assuming anything as far as the owner's response goes.

              Ain't NYC a gas? Glad you got your phone back.


              • #8
                Re: Cell Phone Stolen from the DINER at 14th & 9th

                mistaken entry


                • #9
                  Re: Cell Phone Stolen from the DINER at 14th & 9th

                  This thread reminds me of the case of the stolen shoes caught on video. I read about it on Curbed. This NYC delivery guy stole someone's shoes and had to come back and return them when the diner was contacted with irrefutable evidence.


                  • #10
                    Re: Cell Phone Stolen from the DINER at 14th & 9th

                    That's Hilarious Grace! Great link. And it is a lot like this story - down to the fact that both people - Jonathan and this guy in the video - left their stuff where they probably shouldn't have. Jonathan left his cell phone on the table and this guy left his shoes in the hall! The great thing is both were able to post this to the public over the internet where everybody could see it. What are the chances these internet postings helped motivate the owners of the restaurants to make sure the goods were returned?

                    By the way, how in the world did you find that site with that video?