A small business owner was unable to stop thieves from stealing almost $2,000 worth of merchandise from his hobby store, and now he is hoping the power of social media will bring the criminals to justice.
Perry Lutz has owned the Hobby Town USA in Rocklin for 12 years.
Friday evening, two men strolled into his store right before closing, and gave themselves a five-finger discount. Surveillance video captured it all.
“Because of my situation, I have no ability to defend myself,” Lutz said.
The owner has been wheelchair-bound since a car accident 20 years ago paralyzed part of his body.
“What can I do to defend myself? Well, I rolled as fast as I could out to the door, like I'm really going to be able to do something,” Lutz said.
Employees said the two men knew exactly what they were doing. They were in and out in less than 30 seconds, and did not even seem to care that they were on eight different surveillance cameras around the store.
Lutz said they stole two quad-copters (similar to drones), an RC truck, and specific accessories, totaling $1,800.
Jason Morgan is an employee at Hobby Town. He was in the back of the store cleaning when the thieves hit the store.
“I just heard Perry yelling,” Morgan said, while shaking his head. “They don't even have a soul, really. They knew Perry was in a wheelchair. They looked over. You can totally see that they had the advantage of taking any item.”
But they are determined not to let the thieves get away with this crime.
“The way we can defend ourselves is obviously… viral application,” Perry said.
Since the incident, employees downloaded the surveillance footage, and posted it on their Facebook page. Within 24 hours, the video had more than 120,000 views. All day, they were answering tip calls from loyal customers, who had seen the viral video.
They hope the video helps Rocklin Police capture the men who they said drove off in an older model gold Dodge Durango. Authorities are looking at the thieves as an organized shoplifting crew.
Lutz is offering a $500 gift card to the store for anyone with information leading to arrests.