Caught on video: Serial squirrel bandits snatching chocolate bars from store
Published Thursday, January 5, 2017 9:10AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 5, 2017 8:31PM EST
The squirrels in Toronto have more nuts than most.
Video recorded at a city convenience store shows two brazen rodent-related heists, in which squirrels can be seen snatching chocolate bars from inside the store and scampering off with them into the street.
Two videos posted on YouTube show the animals entering through the open door of Luke's Grocery & Snack Bar, then grabbing a chocolate bar from the bottom shelf of the candy rack, which is positioned just inside the entrance. The individual holding the camera chases the furry thief in both videos, but fails to retrieve the candy.
One video, which was posted on Oct. 10, shows a black squirrel snatching a Kinder Bueno bar. Another video shows a rodent making off with a Crunchie bar. The second video was published Jan. 4, but the description says it was recorded on Nov. 19.
Jenny Kim, whose parents own the store, figures they are dealing with a family of squirrels who have been emboldened by a series of successful heists. She estimates they have lost around 48 confections since they first witnessed the thefts last year.
“That’s only the ones we’ve noticed,” Kim told CTV News Channel. “They’ve probably stolen more.”
The videos were shared on Reddit, in a section for asking questions about Toronto-related issues. The original poster, who identifies as a member of the family running the store, says they experienced several squirrel-related thefts in autumn, two-to-three days apart.
"We simply can't afford to close the door and turn on ventilation/cooling to max, with hydro bills being what they are," the poster wrote. "We have been storeowners our whole lives… and never had a problem with this routine. Until the squirrel started showing up."
In the original Reddit thread from Oct. 3, the poster asks for help with stopping the squirrel-related thefts. "It's a different bar each time – Oh Henry, Mr. Big, etc.," the poster wrote. In every case, the squirrel was too fast to stop. "We tried running after it, but it's still faster. A couple times, passersby and customers tried chasing after it with us, but once it goes up a tree, it's game over."
While the loss of a few chocolate bars might sound like peanuts to some, the poster says the thefts are affecting his family's bottom line. The Kinder Bueno bar, for instance, sells for $2, while the Crunchie goes for $1.80.
The family hasn't reported any more issues since the onset of winter, perhaps because the squirrels are already well-stocked for the season. Kim says she plans to use the downtime to workshop theft prevention ideas with the help of Reddit.
“We don’t have any solutions yet,” she said.