Faithful readers know we have been semi-documenting the blitz-style retail thefts impacting local businesses for some time, with brazen thievery triggering angry responses from store owners and private citizens for whom the experience has become so commonplace.
Well-heeled local businesses are taking steps to make themselves less attractive targets – with the Walnut Creek City Council on Tuesday granting unanimous approval of an agreement between its Police Department and Nordstrom calling for a uniformed officer to be present at the Broadway Plaza store, a practice already in play across the plaza at the Apple store.
The ongoing series of thefts, almost always conducted by organized crews of thieves who storm a business and make off with thousands of dollars worth of goods while helpless employees look on, appear to target some stores specifically. Before its approval of the Nordstrom agreement Tuesday, Walnut Creek police told the council that swarm robberies at the neighboring Apple store had all but “evaporated” after an officer was placed on duty there.
Walnut Creek’s council approved $231,514 to fund the staffing, which will last for a year and be repaid by Nordstrom in quarterly payments. Officers will volunteer for the assignment, be subject to assignment to higher priority calls, and be paid overtime.
Nordstrom’s security team remains in place, city officials were told. The chain has grown increasingly alarmed by escalating thefts at sister stores and the frequent presence of “crews” who come to Walnut Creek in search of a target.
News of the pending agreement has not gone unnoticed by smaller, though equally hard-hit local businesses victimized by many of the same people targeting Apple and Nordstrom.
“It’s a good agreement for them (the two stores),” said another local business owner who says he’s lost “thousands and thousands” of dollars in goods to retail thieves in recent months. “Part of me is saying ‘good for them,’ while another part of me says ‘now, at least I’ll know where to go to find an officer when they’re robbing me.'”