Police in Syracuse, N.Y., are looking for a man caught on tape allegedly stealing almost $1,000 worth of pricey meats from a natural-food store.
Video footage shows the same man allegedly taking high-end organic, locally sourced steaks from the freezer section of the Natur-Tym grocery store twice within eight days. Wendy Meyerson, who has owned Natur-Tym with her husband for 25 years, had recently doubled her store's size, having moved to a 1,500-square-foot space on Erie Boulevard, a highly trafficked commercial road in the Syracuse suburb of Dewitt.
"I'm not living in a bubble to think I don't have people stealing," Meyerson said. "But perishable frozen meat was not on my radar. We've got expensive nutritional supplements, makeup and clothing. I never could have imagined."
The alleged culprit brazenly rolled into her store Sept. 27, likely knowing he was being filmed as he passed the closed-circuit television at the store's entrance and weaved past staff and underneath numerous security cameras throughout the store, wheeling a piece of luggage behind him.
He then allegedly piled rib-eye steaks, Delmonicos, strip steaks and grass-fed lamb chops into the suitcase. Although he allegedly cleaned the store out of all its high-end red meats, all brought in from nearby Drover Hill Farms, he left the chicken and sausage behind.
When Meyerson noticed she'd been cleaned out, she realized that her store's new location had a security camera blind spot in the meat freezer, which contains some of her most expensive inventory. She says he allegedly got away with about $700 worth of meat on his first visit.
The perpetrator returned about a week later, allegedly making off with a nearly $300 haul. But this time he was caught on tape.
"Until October 5, we didn't have any meat to put out," Meyerson said. "Once it was delivered, I put one of each out into a new space and we were monitoring it. But within four hours, it was gone."
That space was well within the area being filmed by her camera. No one saw the theft until the man had left. Meyerson said that although she knows her expansion and new location will bring an increase to her store's losses to theft, she's not sure how to react to such brazen and unexpected stealing.
"As a small independent retailer, we've invested everything we've got in bringing this to the community," she said. "We're a family business, a husband and wife team, my father was a local pharmacist. What do I do? Do I have to lock the meat up? How do I respond?"
Meyerson said she is planning to look for education from the town and police department on how to educate employees and "how to not be as naïve."
"We knew when we moved to this location, we weren't in Kansas anymore," she said. "We have higher traffic, higher volume, we're on a bus route. We knew the benefits. I don't know if it's because it was the meat itself that it was so hurtful and shocking."