Stolen tip jar leads to charges for three Treasure Valley men

A worker at a hot dog stand suffers multiple injuries.

krodine@idahostatesman.comFebruary 4, 2014 

All Brady Gamble wanted was to get his tip money back.

That’s why the 22-year-old, who sells hot dogs outside a Boise bar, jumped into the back of a pickup truck when the three men who stole his money drove away.

And that’s why he’s happy Boise police jailed three men in connection with the crime, which allegedly included beating Gamble with a rock and choking him with the sleeve of his Boise State sweater.

“They must’ve tossed my tip jar,” said Gamble, who works two jobs and studies marketing at the College of Western Idaho. “It didn’t have more than $60 in it, but that was my money. I work hard for that money.

“If I could have gotten my tips back, that’s all I’d ask,” he said. “But I didn’t, so I want to press charges.”

Boise residents Alex Z. Lopez, 22, and Gary E. Maas, 23, face charges of felony aggravated battery and misdemeanor petit theft. Joshua J. Behrens, 22, of Nampa is accused of pushing Gamble and faces misdemeanor battery and theft charges. The three were arrested together early Saturday and remained in the Ada County Jail on Monday evening.

Boise police officers responded to the area of West Fairview Avenue and North Milwaukee Street shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday. That’s where Gamble was found, injured. The incident began at a hot dog stand just outside the Buffalo Club on Fairview near North Five Mile Road.

Here’s how Gamble recalls the incident: Three men, appearing drunk, came out of the bar and bought two hot dogs from him. The bill was $10, but they gave him $20. He put their $10 change on the counter, but they got into their truck and left it there. A couple of minutes later, he put the $10 into his tip jar, figuring, “if they didn’t mean to give me that big of a tip, I’d give it back.”

Then, he said, the truck pulled up to the hot dog stand and one of the men got out, grabbed the tip jar and jumped back in the truck. Gamble tried to open the door and get his money back, but the man pushed him out of the way.

Gamble said he scrambled into the bed of the pickup, which headed east down Fairview at high speeds. When the truck pulled into the WinCo parking lot on Fairview, Gamble stood up and demanded his tips back. The driver gunned the engine and Gamble fell back into the truck bed.

A short while later, he said, the truck pulled onto a residential street and two of the men — Lopez and Maas — got out and battered him. One used the rock he kept in his tip jar to keep the money from blowing away. The other pulled Gamble’s sweater over his head and wrapped the sweater arm around his neck.

Gamble said he struggled out of his shirt and sweater and threw the rock out of the truck. One of the men then struck him with his fists. The men pulled Gamble out of the truck and he landed on his back. He started to stand up and the pickup truck’s bumper hit him in the face, he said.

The men drove away. Gamble got help from neighboring residents.

He said he declined to go to an emergency room because he didn’t want to spend the money. The next day, he went to a doctor and learned “I have a pretty good concussion, some serious bruising. A blood vessel in my eye popped. My back hurts, my ribs hurt. My arms hurt from trying to block the rock.”

After an extensive search, police found the white diesel pickup and the three suspects in the 800 block of South Curtis Road. Gamble said his keys to the hot dog stand were found in the pickup.

He plans to return to work, but the incident has made him more wary.

“I went out today and got pepper spray,” he said.

Kristin Rodine: 377-6447

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service