Photographer captures bizarre robbery turned food fight at California Walgreens
In cellphone video shared with our sister station, KGO-TV, recorded by professional photographer Nicholas Stennet, you can see two Walgreens employees behind the counter, trying to call for help as a man dressed in black fills a large bag with items.
“We have this person who…takes everything at the counter,” an employee says over the phone.
Stennet has witnessed these crimes before but never planned to step in to record, especially after he said the suspect dropped the phone of a man trying to record moments earlier.
“He goes behind the counter taking stuff, maybe COVID tests, a tray of batteries, electronics.”
Several store employees watched, waiting for help to arrive. Meanwhile, the suspect, with stunning calm, selects items to place in his bag.
“I feel bad for the workers,” Stennet says.
At one point, another customer tried to intervene, challenging the suspect with “what, you wanna go?”
The suspect then grabbed bunches of bananas and threw them at the customer.
“There are bananas flambé everywhere!” Stennet exclaims.
When the customer tried to fight back, reaching for more bananas, you can hear a store clerk say “no, no, no, no!” to try to defuse the situation. The customer ignored the request and returned the bananas.
WATCH: Thief steals trash bag full of SF Walgreens items with security shoot in plain sight
“The guy (the suspect) then comes back with Chips Ahoy to send back to him!” Stennet exclaims.
Jim Rita is a former California law enforcement officer and president of SRS Protection, which provides security for businesses and places of worship in five states.
He says maintaining security in California… is difficult.
“There are several states we work in where security guards are allowed to do their jobs. In the good old days, we could handcuff them, take them behind their backs, and call the cops. The store would sue.”
Rita does not recommend that viewers confront a suspect in flagrante delicto.
“We also don’t want the citizen to be hurt, I know it’s frustrating.”
Although he thinks if the video can be taken safely, as Stennet did, it may help law enforcement.
“If there’s no gun, I’m not afraid of bananas and Chips Ahoy!” beams Stennet who continues: “If I can raise a little awareness and help the lawsuits, that would be good.”
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