On the heels of a brazen attempted theft at the Mill Valley Market last month, in which three suspects allegedly robbed the store and stole an estimated $1,200 worth of merchandise, mostly alcohol, law enforcement authorities across the county have upped their focus on curbing retail holiday theft.

In the Mill Valley Market instance, employees delayed and detained the suspect after they tried to flee.

Ryan Canepa, a manager and co-owner of the store, said that his staff hasn’t noticed a spike in thefts during past holidays. He said the staff hasn’t changed its policy of detaining suspected thieves.

“We always tried to catch people who steal from us,” Canepa said.

Brazen retail theft in the Bay Area and beyond has been a hot topic for several years now, with no shortage of social media footage of cars queuing up outside certain shops, with perpetrators making a mad rush into premium shops and darting off into the distance, with nary a consequence.

Kelly Smith, president of United Markets in San Rafael, told the IJ that shoplifters grab a few bottles of wine off the shelf, stuff them in a bag and try to leave. An employee intercepts the thief. The shoplifter looks at the employee, says “stop me if you can,” and walks out the front door.

“Experts credit several circumstances for today’s shoplifting problem: an uptick in organized retail theft, social media posts that facilitate organized ransacking, increased homelessness, widespread drug addiction and a societal move away from incarceration for less-serious crimes,” IJ reporter Krissy Waite writes.


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