NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (WMBF) - Soon after a man was caught on surveillance video stealing two tables from a small coffee shop in North Myrtle Beach, the tables were returned with a note saying he thought the tables were free.
Mary Bruce, owner of Beach Dreams Market on Second Avenue North called police when she came to work one morning to find two tables she had sitting outside had been stolen, and that the incident had been caught on video.
"I went back and looked at the video. And we realized that the guy that came and took my tables actually had caught hisself on video," said Mary Bruce, owner of Beach Dreams. "At least it looked that way to me. Because he backed up and came back to get the second table."
Bruce added she didn't know the thief's name but realized she had met him.
"That gentleman had come into my shop," she said. "I remember talking to him. I thought he was a good guy. I'm sort of disappointed."
In the video, a man wearing a striped tank top and khaki shorts, got out of a truck, took the tables and put them in the truck. The truck was seen backing away to the west or northwest side of the building before driving off, but a license plate could not be seen.
She called police, then posted a video on social media. Her post went viral, which she called something of a silver lining
As the owner of a small mom-and-pop business, Bruce acknowledged the hardships she and others like her face.
"I make my soaps and my lotion, so, my days are long," she said. "So besides working in the coffee shop, opening early, a lot of times I have to remake products when I sell it."
As for the tables, Bruce said customers would have business meetings outside on them. She had hoped to get more, a request that was soon answered.
"I'm on a budget. So I have to get the business first," she said. "The door doesn't rotate all the time."
Soon after the WMBF News story aired in July, a man stopped by Bruce's shop. He said his truck resembles the truck in the video that aired, and he felt so bad that he brought in a table of his own that he wasn't using anymore. Bruce spruced the table up, painting it and adding the quote "Let's make the whole world smile".
After the WMBF News story aired on the theft in July, Bruce said she returned to work one morning and the tables were back. Their return, like their theft, was caught on video. This time the man stuck a note beneath one of the legs saying, she said, he thought the tables were free.
She called police again, and she said they fingerprinted the tables.
"You know, I'd like to know [who he is]," Bruce said. "But... And I'm hoping the gentleman isn't doing this to other people. You know. I'm hoping that he's not out taking stuff from other places and shops, I wish he would just stop."