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Thieves Completely Raid Northern Spy Food Co.'s Bathroom

Welcome to Eater's latest feature, Shit People Steal, in which we ask restaurateurs what items in their restaurant have been (or are frequently) stolen.

2010_12_northernspy.jpgToday in Eater's theft chronicles, Christophe Hille explains that he's had quite a number of items pilfered from his small, relatively new East Village spot Northern Spy Food Co. Unsurprisingly, much of it goes down in the bathroom:

Theft, the old saw tells us, is a crime of opportunity. Judging from the dollar value of what we’ve lost to customers so far, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with criminal genius. Our restaurant is too small to provide people with much opportunity, so it all goes down in the privacy of our lovely little bathroom, where the following items have been lifted:
· A photograph of a rooster that I’d shot myself and put into a cheap frame that I’d carefully antiqued. That there was a one-off collectible, you heartless bandit, a piece with little monetary value but no small investment of personal pride. I hope your ulcer burns every time someone asks where you got it.
· An American primitive dollhouse mirror, part of a trio of handsome old mirrors I’d assembled. It was nailed fast to the wall, so this industrious pirate had to pry it off with something like a dinner knife. To this person I say: eBay, try it next time something catches your acquisitive eye. You’ll be amazed at what you find for $5
· The glass cover for the light fixture over our sink. It’s an inexpensive and totally common model, and still, we have more pressing things to do than trek to Home Depot for a replacement. Somewhere in New York, a proud but dim magpie now owns a mass-produced light cover with no purpose. Bravo, your apartment is complete, a marvel of objets trouvé; you can stop hunting on Etsy.
· A half-used Mrs. Meyer’s scented bathroom candle. This is where we get into truly petty—in the sense of “having or showing narrow ideas and interests”—theft. Parasitic, lazy, and uncreative, it’s one step up from stealing toilet paper from public restrooms. I don’t understand how you can find both money and time for a nice dinner but neither for a trip to Duane Reade.
· A plastic bottle of Mrs. Meyer’s geranium hand soap. This one I’m actually thankful for. We’d had it for several months, refilling it from the bulk bags, so not only was it past its aesthetic prime, it also had a broken cap that barely held on. It could not have failed to dump a load of liquid soap on the inside of whatever handbag it vanished into, our only moment of karmic retribution. Godspeed, you cunning shoplifter, I hope it was suede.

These acts of thievery have only motivated me to decorate the bathroom more. I’d rather stay busy, keep a good-looking loo, and suffer the occasional compliment-by- theft than see the alternatives come to pass. So to these larcenous customers, I say, please return soon. You’ll find the security measures have been elevated (no, not cameras?).

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Northern Spy Food Co.

511 East 12th St., New York, NY