Dan Starek and Scott Ellsworth have made one thing very clear: Don’t mess with Buckeye Donuts.
Following the armed robbery of Buckeye Donuts the morning of July 23, Ellsworth, owner of Threes Above High and Fours on High, Starek, owner of Oldfield’s North Fourth Tavern and Leo’s on the Alley, and their attorney, Ed Hastie, all agreed to create a $1,000 cash reward for anyone who had info on the perpetrator of the crime.
Ellsworth posted the bounty via Twitter, which included a wanted ad for: “The dirtbag that held our beloved neighbors up at gunpoint.” Buckeye Donuts matched the $1,000 reward, doubling its value to $2,000.
The cash reward was upped to $3,000 Thursday after a random caller called Ellsworth and offered to write a check to the bar for $1,000 once the robber was caught, Ellsworth said.
The response from the two owners to the robbery is an example of the strength and unity within the campus business community.
“I don’t think it’s breaking news that we all stick together and we are a close-knit community,” Ellsworth said. “We’re not old school small businesses where we’re competing with each other. We’re working together and that’s how community is supposed to work.”
Starek expressed similar feelings on the closeness of the community.
“It’s really good to see the community coming together for something that has been bad,” Starek said.
Cliff McAuley, co-owner of Leo’s on the Alley, called Buckeye Donuts “a staple of campus” and that the business’s impact on the Ohio State community was a reason why they felt the need to step in.
Ellsworth said the robbery added on to the mental stress that many small business owners are feeling due to COVID-19’s impact.
“A lot of our small businesses right now are mentally getting beat up. We’re trying to make the right moves and stuff like that and around every corner, things are changing.”
Ellsworth and Starek shared their concern for the employee who was on staff during the robbery and stated that they were glad that everyone ended up being safe and unharmed.
Buckeye Donuts showed appreciation for the bounty that was set on their behalf on Twitter.
“We have the best neighbors you could ask for. Good looking out,” Buckeye Donuts tweeted.
Starek said he hopes that the cash reward ends up in the hands of someone who needs it.
“I hope we do get the guy, but I also hope that it’s somebody — if we do catch him — that can actually use the money as well,” Starek said.
This story was updated at 10:03 p.m. July 30 with information about the increased reward.