If you’re caught stealing something from the Park Slope Food Coop (782 Union Street), you face a lifetime ban at the 40-year-old members-only grocery store — but you may also face the police.
A recent story in the New York Times says that the Coop has seen shoplifting rise from about $700 a day in the past to $1,200 a day last month. Because of that, where members who were caught would once just be banned, manager Joe Holtz explains they are now occasionally calling in the cops, citing one instance where a woman who had reportedly lifted items in the past was spotted and the police came, finding “three rolls of Scotch tape, a rolling pin and a cookie cutter with alphabet shapes.” The Coop followed through, and the woman was charged with petty larceny.
In the November 14 issue of the Linewaiter’s Gazette, the Coop’s newsletter, Holtz outlined more details on the recent rise in thefts, including what members can do if they suspect another member is stealing.
“On a personal note, I have to say that my sadness around arresting someone drowned out my anger for a time,” he wrote in the newsletter. “But in the end, the breach of our communal trust and the attack against our cooperative institution that is held so dearly by so many thousands is the greater sadness for me.”
For all that you have to go through to be a member, and considering, as Holtz says, you are basically stealing from yourself, is it worth it to shoplift at the Coop?