SAN DIEGO (CBS) — A Southland man who scalded a Starbucks employee after throwing the free cup of hot water she had given him is behind bars on Friday.

Dennis Christopher Lee, 58, entered the Starbucks in downtown San Diego shortly after 5:30 a.m. on Thursday and asked the victim for a cup of hot water, which the business provides free of charge, according to San Diego police.

After the clerk — a woman in her mid-20s — complied with Lee’s request, he began taking items from a nearby condiment table, SDPD Officer Frank Cali said.

Lee became upset after the clerk approached him and asked him not to use the condiments, telling him they were for paying customers only.

The suspect then allegedly flung the hot water at the woman, who was taken to a hospital for treatment of possible second-degree burns to her neck and chest.

Lee was arrested on suspicion of battery and booked into county jail.

He was being held on $8,000 bail. An arraignment hearing is set for Monday.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (151)
  1. Angela Talarico says:

    There’s only one important thing to comment about here,and that is the ridiculosly low bail. Now, if indeed the offender is homeless, he won’t be able to post bail and will remain in jail throughout due process, which is where violent criminals should be. And, as horrible as it would be, maybe that’s exactly where he wants to be if he’s homeless. No one would ever want to end up being that desperate. There are too many victim-less criminals behind bars, while too often violent criminals receive a slap on the wrist. Hell, those with money to pay high priced lawyers can and do get away with murder, while the poor can end up falsely accused and on death row. For those decent, honest, law abiding citizens who have ever been falsely accused and ended up behind bars, you know exactly what I’m taking about. The legal and prison systems exist to make money, NOT to ensure “JUSTICE.”

  2. DK1 says:

    It’s totally pathetic that Starbucks would accost him for simply using some free condiments, what a stupid employee. I’m sure he wasn’t thinking the water would hurt her!

    1. April says:

      Your last statement just completely discredited any valid point that you might have been TRYING to make. He didn’t think hot water would hurt her?!

  3. Mellow Out says:

    Everyone comment on here is coming off as angry and bitter. Geez people! Mellow out! The important part is she’s alive and will get past this. There’s a bright side to everything, even after an injury. Reading this gave me a headache.

    1. Mellow Out says:

      Oh, and I wouldn’t be surprised if most of you gave me grief about my typos. lol!

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