BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A local ice cream store is looking for answers Thursday following a string on burglaries.
23ABC spoke to the manager and employees of Dewar's Ice Cream & Fine Candies and they shared details on the thief and the steps they are now taking to prevent future losses.
Dewar's Ice Cream & Fine Candies has been a savory establishment for more than a century in Bakersfield but now employees are saying they are on high alert, "Someone has been coming into our property and stealing ice cream out of our freezers," Dewar's Ice Cream & Fine Candies Store Manager Rocio Lopez said.
Now for the first time Lopez and her colleagues are turning to the community in hopes of finding the man who they believe has burglarized their store more than once in the last six months, "On three occasions we spotted the person but we really haven't been able to do much about it," Lopez said.
According to Lopez the first break in took place on April 6, of this year, "We weren't able to see the individual in the building but we did see them get into their vehicle and drive off, the vehicle didn't have any license plates however they did have like.. dealership plates so we weren't able to find them that way but we called and made a police report."
However, on April 11, 2018 Lopez said employees finally witnessed a man inside the store, but on this occasion one store employee managed to convince him to leave the ice cream behind, "One of the employees was coming in from her break and she spotted the individual in our run way and she told the individual who also had two three gallon containers in his arms and she told him that he couldn't take that and so he went back into the freezer set it down and walked out.”
The runway area is in the back of the store according to Lopez and in this surveillance video you can see the man entering the ice cream freezer then leaving with the two tubs full of ice cream that each cost roughly $75 according to Lopez.
Lopez said officers with the Bakersfield Police Department said they documented the second incident but to notify law enforcement if they catch this man doing the same thing again. Sure enough the alleged ice cream thief decided to stop by for a third time according to Lopez, "This last Friday which was October 19, and our dishwasher went out to throw something in the trash and so he left the runway door open just a little bit.” When the dishwasher returned from the trash he came face to face with the same man, who is described as being six feet tall, with tattoos on his wrist and a beard coming out of the Dewar's freezer with more ice cream according to Lopez.
Lopez said the store employee told the man he couldn't take the ice cream with him, “And the gentlemen said to just move out of his way, that he had people outside waiting for him outside and that he would be in trouble if he didn't move out of his way. So of course the employee, not to put his life in any type of danger moved out of the way. "
Surveillance showed the man leaving the Dewar's ice cream shop and heading on foot toward 11th Street in central Bakersfield with the tubs full of ice cream. According to store employees the man seems like he may be under the influence of something, but so far police said store employees have handled the interactions with him correctly, by contacting law enforcement promptly and complying with what the man said.
Employees said until now they have not had any issues with stealing at any of their other three locations in Bakersfield, “So we're being more vigilant, we're keeping all of our doors locked all of our freezer doors have pad locks on it so it's not just easy to get in," Lopez said.
Over the last six months the man has stolen roughly $300 worth of ice cream in total.
If you do have information contact the Bakersfield Police Department as soon as you can.