Two baristas at a local drive-thru espresso stand called 911 last week when a group of customers ignored their requests to not take pictures of them, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office reported.
According to the report, the incident began when a pick-up truck carrying three men, whom the baristas — aged 18 and 19 — recognized as regular customers, pulled up to the stand in Gorst called Espresso Gone Wild.
After the occupants of the truck ordered drinks from one barista, she said she saw one of the men pull a digital camera out of the vehicle’s glove box.
Both baristas then informed the men that “photographs were not allowed” and if they took any they would report it as harassment.
According to the baristas, the man with the camera said “I don’t care,” and they saw the camera’s flash go off at least twice before the men drove off.
After noting the vehicle’s license plate number and which direction it was heading, the women then called 911.
A deputy responded to the espresso stand and was able to determine that the registered owner of the suspects’ vehicle is an active duty Navy sailor currently assigned to a ship at the Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson said that although it is very likely that it was legal for the men to be taking pictures of the women, he said his office would still “follow through” and attempt to locate the suspects and take their statements.
“Whether or not they will be charged with anything, such as harassment, we will let the Prosecutor’s Office determine that,” Wilson said, explaining that harassment in a public place is “hard to prove.”
Whether or not it is ultimately determined illegal, he said the behavior of the men, given the women’s “scant attire,” was not exactly unexpected.
“Given the nature of some of these folks, the likelihood of this happening was good,” he said, adding that his office has handled several reports in the past regarding customers crossing the line with fully-clothed baristas.
“You’re going to get the odd individual who seems to get a crush on the barista, continually asking her out or hanging around the espresso stand when she’s coming or going,” he said, explaining that while most customers are generally polite, “we have taken some reports of customers going beyond being social to (something closer to) harassing.”