Some Jerks Stole A Charity Donation Jar From Dallas Sandwich Shop The Great American Hero Last Night.

Fourteen years ago, Dominick Oliverie started a tradition at his venerable Dallas sandwich shop, The Great American Hero. Inside of the Lemmon Avenue mainstay, right by the cash register, he placed an empty water jug where he’d encourage his customers to dump the change from their transaction should they feel so inclined.

It’s always been a low-pressure ask, but those coins, bills and even personal checks dropped into the jug have added up to some significant figures: With the help of that money, Oliverie says he and his shop have made a donation of at least $1,000 to a different local charity each year, with Oliverie himself donating the difference should the funds of the jug not suffice on their own.

And, this year, it seemed like those donations might actually be enough to cross that line on their own. Back in June, he and his staff emptied the donations to the jug through that point, counting some $400 or so in offerings to this year’s chosen benefactor of the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital For Children — an amount that they then stashed away to use toward their lump-sum gift-give at the end of the year. The donations made since then looked to be right around that same amount — maybe more, even.

Unfortunately, Oliverie might never know that final amount for sure.

Just before 3 a.m. this morning, the alarm on his shop’s security system went off, notifying both Oliverie and the Dallas Police Department that the building had been broken into — by two thieves, Oliverie can now confirm, thanks to the 12 security cameras he has set up in and around the spot. Before anyone else could arrive on the scene, the thieves made off with the contents of his cash register’s till, his employees’ tip jar and the mostly coin-filled donation jug.

“It’s a real shame,” Oliverie says when reached by phone this afternoon. “Especially given the time of year.”

He says he’s confident that the thieves will be caught, though. First of all, he says his cameras got good footage of the thieves’ faces — a young man and a young woman working together, he says — and of their car. Secondly, he’s been pleased to see that DPD appears to be taking his complaint seriously, having visited his shop twice since the early-morning break-in. Lastly, he’s comforted — somewhat oddly — by the fact that this exact thing has happened before.

Eight years ago, Oliverie says the jug was robbed in a similar manner when its funds were supposed to be donated to the Genesis Women’s Shelter. The police caught those suspects — “You’d be surprised at how well they know a lot of the faces around here,” Oliverie says — and he learned the lesson to not let that money build up over the course of an entire year so it could be grabbed in full (hence that aforementioned June counting of the jug’s contents). Of course, that doesn’t mean he understand the logic about such a robbery.

“It’s a charity thing,” Oliverie says. “I mean, it says it all over the jug. How could someone steal something like that?”

Any potential theories on motive aside, Oliverie is now hoping that Dallas might rally around the story of his stolen jug now by bringing a few extra dollars with them to donate when they visit his shop over the next few days — just as they did eight years ago, when the community replaced a couple hundred dollars to that year’s benefactor within 48 hours of the jug theft being reported.

A Facebook video his employees helped him make about the theft is step one in that process, he says.

Step two, he says, is just waiting for the word to keep spreading, for the sake of the kids at Scottish Rite. For his part, he’s confident it will.

“No one likes to hear about this sort of thing,” he says. “Something good will come of this, you watch.”

You can help by visiting The Great American Hero at 4001 Lemmon Avenuebetween 9 a.m. and 10 p.m.

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