Sign of the times! Trader Joe’s admits its crime problem

The Brooklyn Paper
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Managers of the Trader Joe’s on Court Street have confessed — albeit in its own cheeky way — that the store is a magnet for criminals.

A new sign at the entrance to the popular supermarket at Atlantic Avenue offers shoppers this friendly reminder:

“We know it’s hard to focus with so many amazing values in the store, but please keep a close eye on your belongings!”

The tone of the sign seems innocent enough, but the goings-on at the grocery store have been anything but.

Pickpockets have stalked the quirky grocery store with regularity since it opened in 2008, making it one of the usual suspects in our weekly crime blotter, alongside the Planet Fitness on Duffield Street (“Planet pilfer”!), the Macy’s on the Fulton Mall (“Menace at Macy’s”!) and the Bruce Ratner-owned Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls near the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic avenues (“More malling”!).

In fact, the thievery was so rampant at the supermarket this summer that cops from Carroll Gardens’ 76th Precinct orchestrated a daring sting in which an undercover officer posed as a hapless shopper.

The boys in blue collared a guy trying to rob the shopping Serpico, and the arrest raised hopes that the reign of terror would end.

But the next day, another thief struck.

Since then, there have been at least five incidents at the Hawaiian-themed store, according to our exclusive crime database.

In all, there have been nine robberies — mostly purse-snatchings — at the Trader Joe’s since December.

A spokeswoman with the grocery store had no comment on the sign, calling it only “a friendly reminder.”

Updated 3:13 pm, January 17, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Swami from Crown Heights says:
Hah, that signs been there for months now. As someone familiar with the store, most theft is from people who leave their bags unattended for a long time. Employees are constantly reminding oblivious customers to mind their property.

This is New York City. If you leave your purse unattended for 10 minutes in a super-crowded store, of course it's going to disappear, Trader Joe's or no.
Nov. 7, 2010, 5:39 pm
Trader Joe from Court Street says:
I am an employee at this particular Trader Joe's. So here's the thing: CUSTOMERS CONTINUE TO LET THEIR GUARDS DOWN! Do you know how many times security, our crew and our managers have to warn our shoppers not to leave their personal belongings, such as their bags, purses, cell phones and wallets, unattended? Yet they continue to do so, even though they know darn well that this is "BROOKLYN, better known as CROOKLYN". I wish they wouldn't put their valuables in their carts and baskets and then proceed to let them out of their reach and eye contact, but these are grown adults that should know the consequences of their actions. But we can't write that on a sign now, can we? So that is why we have to put up this friendly reminder. Now you know.
Nov. 7, 2010, 11:35 pm
Trader Joe from Court Street says:
P.S.: Thank you Swani from Crown Heights. You are ABSOLUTELY correct. And also thank you for being a customer.
Nov. 7, 2010, 11:37 pm
PRM from Cobble Hill says:
First, having my money or belongings stolen is not a natural consequence of dropping my guard. The thief plays an important part. Second, Trader Joe's should have an interest in safeguarding its shoppers beyond some sign that places the responsibility and blame squarely on them. The store has a terrible layout for security purposes. In a traditional supermarket, a thief would have to pass through a check out counter to leave the store, which is conspicuous, unless he buys something, which will defniitely cut down on his number of visits. Moreover, a customer is given space in which to complete the transaction -- cart and belongings in front of you, cashiers on either side, and a counter/belt on which to rest items. At Trader Joe's there is a scrum at the too-small check out stations, and no room to keep your cart or place your belongings in front of you. There is a reason these thefts are happening at Trader Joe's and not Key Food, Fairway, or Met Food. It's because Trader Joe's, by giving little consideration to security, effectively hung out a sign to theives -- We're Open for Business.
Nov. 9, 2010, 1:19 pm
Nina from Carroll Gardens says:
It's sad that people blame the victim. Shopping at TJ's is supposed to be a more communal and peaceful experience. How does leaving your eyes of your bags momentarily in order to reach for some item justify your property being stolen?
April 23, 2014, 6:55 am
Mike spratt from Boerum hill says:
This is old time crime making a comeback.They usually dump purse in the store. Trader Joes is so crowded and Younger adults are so distracted kids!phones etc... They make easy pickings!, for criminals.
May 1, 2014, 6:38 am
Debra Rice from Flatbush says:
I was totally unaware of the thieving issues at TJ. I tie my bag to the food cart. I do this in all super markets. It is my way of securing my properties while I shop. I never go far. I still can see my cart. Maybe this might be a good practice for women shoppers with bags, or perhaps just keep your bag on your shoulder.
June 19, 2014, 3:57 am
Original Brooklyn-Knight from Crown Heights says:
To all of you defending the victims when it IS mostly the victim's fault. It's like not watching your child because you're so wrapped in returning texts and the child wonders off and gets lost. Your child should be your main concern and responsibility instead returning some stupid text about how cute those shoes were down street. Therefore, treat your belongings the same way. They're both irresplaceable.
Feb. 26, 2015, 9:55 pm
Nadia from Fort Greene says:
No matter where you are you should NEVER walk away from your purse, always keep it on your shoulder or keep your cart IN FRONT of you, always. A thief will always look for an easy mark.
Aug. 20, 2015, 3 pm

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