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Recent Store Robberies Frustrate Children's Orchard Owner

A stroller worth $700 was the third item stolen recently from the store on Del Obispo Street in San Juan Capistrano.

An expensive stroller was grabbed midday Tuesday from a storefront on Del Obispo Street, the latest in a trio of thefts from the local outpost of , the store owner said. 

"This recent increase in [taking] high-priced items is hurting me. I am a small-business owner struggling to stay in business, and these thefts hurt me and my employees," said owner Debbie Brown.

Brown said that at 11:20 a.m. Tuesday, a man in his early 20s and wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses took a stroller valued at $700 from the front of the store. "We have surveillance cameras but were unable to make out the description because of the sun," she said.

Despite employee precautions, such as checking tags and monitoring surveillance footage, a high-end BMX bike worth $199 and a $35-nursing cover were also recently stolen.

Sheriff's Lt. John Meyer, chief of , said the recent incidents are likely just crimes "of opportunity and need."

The Children's Orchard franchise resells slightly used kids' clothing, toys, furniture, equipment, books and accessories.

"It’s just really sad that people have to get desperate enough to steal, but to steal from a secondhand store? That just makes it worse," Brown lamented.

Kim McCarthy July 13, 2011 at 05:49 PM
I am frustrated with the lack of attention of our City Council regarding public safety in general. Mayor Allevato and Lt. Meyer site statistics from a spread sheet that SJC is safer than Irvine...what are they comparing it to...rapes and murders? Sheriff's Lt. John Meyer, chief of police services in San Juan Capistrano, said the recent incidents are likely just crimes "of opportunity and need." This statement from Lt. Meyer echos the attitude of City Council--"JUST" as if it is not important? This incident at Orchard along with numerous home and garage burgleries, broad daylight knife point stealing from a man at the local ATM, consistent bank robberies, are a prelude and no big deal until we reach a level of murders and rapes with other cities? I suppose being under a gang-injunction (along with Santa Ana and Anaheim-great company to keep) going on 4 years along with 4 of our 5 local public schools is "just opportunity and need" also? Recent decisions spending tax $ for plumbing to RMV open space, continueing to pay over $200,000 for a cop at San Juan Hills for CUSD, Gifting $78,000 to one groups daycare needs at Boys and Girls Club, are more important than the public safety of San Juan taxpayers...we need more cops walking a beat in this town!!! Mayor Allevato, I hope you enjoy your 3 day excursion with the Portola Riders on tax payer funded RMV Open Space with your cronies, take some pics for us residents since we aren't allowed on our own property!
SJCfamily July 13, 2011 at 06:50 PM
What on earth is Lt Meyer talking about when he refers to these poor people "in need"? Apparently he isn't aware of the welfare distribution centers that direct people "in need" to FREE cash, furniture, food, health care, housing - whatever they "need". Apparently he hasn't seen the people who line up for free food at Serra Pantry at the Mission or at the WIC Center next to Ricardo's to get free food or at Ralph's using EBT cards (that's our tax dollars) who are pushing high-end strollers, talking on iPhones and driving Escalades with expensive rims. There's a difference between WANT and NEED. Lt. Meyer NEEDS to get out more in the community to see what's really going on!
Orrie Brown July 13, 2011 at 06:53 PM
I am appalled, but not surprised, by the response of Lt. Meyer of OCSD. To blow off this crime, as likely just a crime "of opportunity and need" is a cop out (no pun intended). That excuse/explanation could be used for anything from a student cheating on a test to a rapist or murderer. It's past time for City leaders and the OCSD to treat every crime as a crime, report it as such (which is not currently happening), and support the victim, not the criminal.
Kim McCarthy July 13, 2011 at 07:05 PM
Apparently "just a crime in need" takes it off the shoulders of the OCSD and puts it in a "pity the poor criminal category" ...right out of the typical government agency response playbook of RED-Rationalize Excuse Deny. Whats going to happen when Orchard Place and the few decent left retailers leave along with the rest of the hundreds that allready have? What taxes are going to pay for the OCSD at SJHHS, gang counseling, daycare, Ecology Center, RMV Open Space gift to the Ranch? I guess the city can just add another couple of TIERS to the water bill...aka slush fund, for whoever is left trying to sell their homes and get out of here...not easy when buyers ask about the Public Schools and what the utility bills are.
Jenna Chandler July 13, 2011 at 07:26 PM
I didn't get the impression that Lt. Meyer was dismissing the robberies as if they weren't important, and I worry that his comment is being taken out of context. Perhaps I should have better phrased his comment to me, which is a response to my question: "Why do you think this store is being targeted?"
Kim McCarthy July 13, 2011 at 07:29 PM
Jenna, why dont you send this to Lt. Meyer and have him comment on this article so we can see exactly what he meant...kim
Student July 13, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Don't worry.... Councilman Reeve is fighting for us all to be able to pack some heat. There won't be any need to have more cops walking the beat with all of us locked and ready to load. In fact, if one is to read Reeve's recent Patch opinion piece you can conclude that since it takes cops over four minutes to respond to a call we won't need cops any more because we'll all have guns to stop the crime long before the cops could even arrive. Someone attempts to rob you at an ATM, blow their head off and do it in far less time than four minutes. SJHHS won't need a 200k cop anymore, teachers and admin will have a sidearm and so will students that have satisfactory citizenship marks. We're going to save so much money on that we can take the money from law enforcement and give even more money to people in need so that they no longer have any needs and obviously have no need to commit crimes. I, for one, can't wait!
CE July 13, 2011 at 07:47 PM
Take a chill pill, folks! Meyer is categorizing the robberies as law enforcement often does. They have various categories that they use to establish patterns that allow them to catch the bad guys. When he says it's a crime of "opportunity and need" he's distinguishing it from crimes that are generally committed by established full-time criminals.
Kim McCarthy July 13, 2011 at 09:53 PM
CE, I don't follow you...If a guy steals a $700 stroller to sell to buy meth the OCSD would label it a crime of 'opportunity and need' therefore this guy won't become a full time criminal, just a part-time criminal? When I see government agencies label anything it is usually to mislead and pacify tax-payers...for instance 'underserved' 'title one' and a host of others....labeling is just another form on RED / Rationalizing Excusing and Denying --a smoke screen to shut-up taxpayers.
OCPraetorian July 13, 2011 at 11:35 PM
They weren't robberies, which require force or threat of force. They were thefts. I wish Children's Orchard would keep it's stuff in the store, so the plaza didn't look like a swap meet.
OCPraetorian July 13, 2011 at 11:37 PM
And that "fill a bag" sign in the photo is a violation of the city's sign code, too. And if Ms. McCarthy is trying to sell her home and get out of here, I'll be the first to bid.
Jenna Chandler July 13, 2011 at 11:43 PM
I'm pretty confident, CE, that's what Lt. Meyer meant ... We're talking about someone who probably doesn't have a long criminal rap sheet, that's not to say the incident is any less important in law enforcement's eyes. Categorizing types of criminals and criminal activities is important for data-keeping and statistics-reporting—which we rely on to bring you news about crime here in town! I'll send Lt. Meyer a link to the story, like you've asked, and if he responds, I'll let you know!
DB July 17, 2011 at 03:41 PM
I just think that it is sad that people choose to steal, and that local small businesses suffer as a result. We frequent the Children's Orchard, and everything is well organized and clean. Other shops put items out front as well, all over the plaza. It is simply not the store owners fault that items were stolen...

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