The Great Cup Caper: Man Spends Years Tossing McDonald’s Coffee Cups On Rival’s Lawn

Petty grievances normally mean muttering choice words under one’s breath, or, if you’re a real societal drain, keying someone’s car. Rarely do they involve the systematic deposit of McDonald’s coffee cups on your rival’s lawn for three years running. That’s what has happened to Edward and Cheryl Patton of Lake View, New York. A mysterious litterer would stop by their home at night and toss a used McDonald’s coffee cup on their property. The perpetrator stayed in their car, launching the cups out of the vehicle’s window. Some of them came with cigarette butts, others with crumpled up napkins. One cup might be tossed, or several. It was as if someone’s coffee run was being weaponized as a tool for revenge. Over time, the Pattons saved the evidence, which grew to 10 garbage bags full of 300 cups. Attempts to identify the assailant were made, but to no avail. The Pattons tried, but couldn’t make out the car’s license plate on security camera footage. Eventually, they enlisted the help of their neighbors, who agreed to keep watch. One of them spotted the suspicious car and followed it long enough to jot down the license plate number, which was then turned over to police. It turned out to belong to Larry Pope, one of Cheryl’s former co-workers — a man with whom she had engaged in disagreements over union activity. Officers parked nearby the Patton home one evening, hoping to catch Pope in the act — and that's exactly what they did. He was ticketed for harassment, as well as for throwing trash on a roadway. The surprising part of the story is that he later sent a letter of apology to the Pattons and paid them $2,800 to cover the expenses they incurred in trying to catch him. In return, a judge dismissed the charges against Pope. Despite his late-night actions, Pope’s coffee cups were almost always marked decaf.