A Baskin-Robbins store in Vallejo, California, faced a double scoop of trouble last Wednesday when a shirtless thief hurled a rock through the store’s side door and made off with $175 worth of merchandise.
Not cash or a safe. Not office equipment or pawnable electronics.
Ice cream cakes. Seven of them, to be precise.
The store’s security cameras captured the entire scene (see the video link below). The store owner made the surveillance video available to the public via its Facebook page. She hopes the footage will help the police in their efforts to identify the sticky-fingered thief.
Shortly after the incident, Desiree Brooks, owner of the establishment located at 5182 Sonoma Boulevard, was bowled over with support from her loyal customers. Several chimed in on social media, churning out leads, hoping to ensure the thief got his just desserts.
Theories are swirling as to the thief’s true motivation. Some have posited that the young man is homeless and hungry. Others attribute the bizarre theft to drug use.
Brooks has reported that she has seen the suspect regularly loitering near the shop. She had installed locks on the cake freezer doors, in fact, in response to the suspect’s previous cake-stealing attempts. In the past, his attempts appeared to be limited to working hours. In the most recent heist, the thief waited until a few minutes after closing to make his “frosty” move.
Regardless of the thief’s motivations, Brooks intends to press charges if he is caught. The last thing she wants is for the case to go cold. She believes her concerns could be warranted, however. She expressed frustration at the lack of progress on an arguably far more serious case in which her store was robbed at gunpoint in March.
“It hurts,” she said in an interview with San Francisco Bay Area CBS affiliate KPIX-5. “This is a family place ... This should be a sanctuary for families.”
Like many small business owners, Brooks is not cash-rich. And due to this latest incident, her financial options have melted into a no-win puddle. Either she pays the deductible and faces a premium increase, or she must handle the cost herself. Though she reports that the damage to the freezer doors is particularly costly, she believes the most prudent option is probably to pay out-of-pocket to have the extensive repairs done.
Just three weeks ago, a gunman attempted to rob a Baskin-Robbins shop in neighboring Santa Rosa. That would-be robber, instead of leaving with the cash he demanded, left with a sore hand. A quick-thinking employee slammed the register drawer on the assailant’s hand as he grabbed for the cash — causing him to drop the cone he was holding and flee.
Though this article is sprinkled with levity (and admittedly heavy on the ice cream metaphors), the issue is quite serious for the store owner. Running a small business isn’t easy — and thieves, regardless of their motivation, make it much harder. We wish her the best of luck in resolving the issue and getting the shop back up to speed.
Michele Blood is a freelance writer  with a passion for children's literature. Based in Flemington, New Jersey, she leverages her background in psychology in her work for publishers, businesses and NPOs.