Among the many industries that have been rocked by the pandemic, the retail industry has been hit particularly hard by state-mandated restrictions. While the holidays present a bit of a booster for sales, it also means falling victim to shoplifters.
Terra Gallery, a business in downtown Palm Springs, was recently targeted by a thief who made off with more than $3,000 in merchandise, according to the owner.
"He knew what he was doing. He was in to steal," said owner Mike Seigle.
On Thursday night, a man covered from head to toe in a black trench coat, a dark bandanna, and a blue face covering entered into the store. An employee recalls him pacing the store for about 6 minutes. As she helped a new customer, Seigle said that's when the man made his move.
"He took a whole tray of rings," said Seigle.
Store surveillance video showed the man looking at the employee who was helping a customer. He then opened his black trench coat, and stuffed an entire tray of rings inside.
"Tt’s normally just one item or a couple items. It’s not a whole tray," said Seigle.
Unfortunately, shoplifting is all too common especially during the holidays. Seigle has a folder dubbed 'The Book of Thieves.' Inside, there are still images of people Seigle said has stolen from the store in the past. Thursday's incident, however, was different because of how much the loss racked up.
"It was probably roughly over $3000 in retail."
The store has several signs indicating that cameras inside are rolling, but that did not seem to phase the thief.
Eventually Seigle said his employee realized there had been a theft after she noticed several rings had fallen on the floor.
"She was very upset, I could just tell from the tone of her voice. She apologized, said something bad had happened."
At a time when the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the retail industry, losing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was yet another blow to the business.
"Our business is way down, I mean we don’t have the customers," said Seigle.
Like many other business, Seigle's store has suffered. He said one of the reasons he's not getting a lot of customers is because restaurants are closed.
"It’s very disheartening, there’s nothing you can do with it and plus we’re struggling so much as it is and for someone to just steal from you, it’s almost personal when you’re the owner," said Seigle.
Surveillance video was handed over to the Palm Springs Police Department.
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