Short North Store Owners, Crime Fighters Help Catch Accused Serial Shoplifter
A man, with a criminal history of theft and prostitution, was stopped in the Short North after alert community members called on a crime-fighting team that took action.
Police say 49-year-old Darryl Baker was trying to steal women’s jewelry from locally-owned stores in the Short North.
“I treat everyone with the same amount of respect I would want walking into a store,” said Bungalow Home manager, Shannon Tannehill.
Tuesday afternoon was no different, when Shannon Tannehill says a man walked in to the store.
“He made you feel very comfortable, like you didn't have to watch out for him at all,” said Tanehill.
In hindsight, she says that was the fatal flaw. “After he left, I went and did a double check and two pairs of earrings were missing.”
Those earrings were together valued at $60.
Allison Jayjack of Ladybird said the same man also stole a pair of earrings on the same day, worth $70.
“Having someone come in and take something from right under your nose, it just doesn't make you feel good,” said Jayjack.
But, the story doesn't stop there. When Tannehill realized the jewelry was missing, she called the Short North Alliance, who sent out one of their ambassadors to see if he could spot the man.
“My main goal was to just to keep eyes on him,” said Short North Ambassador Greg Feldman.
Feldman doesn't have the power to arrest people, but he does have is the power of observation.
He said he trailed the alleged thief from store to store. “I was already on the phone with the police department. I didn't want to lose him,” said Feldman.
Feldman said he then watched the man walk out of the store, across the street, and over to the bus stop, where the ambassador thought he lost him for good.
Columbus police officers pulled over the bus he boarded, made an arrest, and recovered the stolen earrings.
“It felt good to know we captured somebody who did something wrong,” said Feldman.
Short North Alliance Executive Director Betsy Pandora said, “it was through the unified efforts of both our businesses and our ambassador team, that we were able to identify the suspect… This is the program at its best.”
The Short North Ambassador program was started about a year ago to fight crime and help clean up the area.