A man has been charged with taking $10,000 in Wunder Puff jackets from the Berkeley Lululemon shop on Fourth Street as part of a retail theft scheme, court papers show.
Doyle Young Jr., 21, was arrested in late December and remains in custody as of this week, more than a month later, according to booking records.
Police say Young went into Lululemon, at 1901 Fourth St., with an unidentified accomplice on Dec. 23 and took 18 Wunder Puff jackets just before 6 p.m.
The next day, according to Berkeley police, they went back into the same Lululemon and took 15 more Wunder Puff jackets.
The men left in a gold Lexus, which ultimately led police to Young, according to court papers.
On Dec. 27, when Concord police stopped the Lexus, they found Young inside.
Berkeley property crimes investigators went out to Concord and were able to recognize Young from security footage, they wrote.
Police searched Young, who is on parole, and found several Lululemon gift cards and Wonder Puff jacket return receipts in his pocket, according to court papers.
Doyle Young Jr. BPD
Young told police that the gift cards had been a gift to him and that the returns he made had been done as a favor to his friend's mother, who had no identification, police wrote in court papers.
Young was subsequently charged with two counts of grand theft and two counts of organized retail theft, according to court papers.
He has prior convictions for attempted robbery in January 2020, when he was 17, and robbery in 2022, according to court papers.
The 2022 robbery conviction, in Amador County, sent him to prison.
Young has denied the charges. His bail was set at $140,000 but he has been unable to get out due to a parole hold, according to records online.
Young is scheduled for his preliminary hearing, where a judge will determine if the case against him can move forward, in mid-February.
Retail theft is routine on Fourth Street
Berkeley's popular Fourth Street shopping district has been a popular target for thieves due to its high-end shops and easy freeway access.
The Berkeley Apple Store was targeted at least five times in January.
Last year, BPD drew criticism from some when it decided not to apply for a state retail theft grant to target what has been a growing regional problem.
It's not possible to track Berkeley retail theft numbers with the BPD data available online, but one thing is clear: Local businesses in Berkeley have increasingly been subject to property crime over the years.
Last year, commercial burglary saw a 30% increase in Berkeley, according to preliminary BPD numbers on the Transparency Hub.
Since 2016, the city has seen a 169% increase in commercial burglary reports, according to BPD data.
Berkeley police target "relentless" retail thieves at REI
In recent months, Berkeley police have stepped up efforts to catch shoplifters and other retail thieves in the act.
In mid-January, BPD property crime detectives and bike officers set up a surveillance operation outside REI, another popular target, and arrested three people in a single day.
"REI has been the target of relentless organized retail thieves who steal thousands of dollars in jackets and other high-end merchandise," police said in a prepared statement.
At least two people — both neighbors in San Francisco's Baldwin Hotel housing complex — were subsequently charged with commercial burglary and grand theft in connection with that case.
One of them was already on probation or another form of supervised release when he was arrested this time, according to court papers.
The other man, who was found with a used crack pipe in his pocket, according to BPD, told police he had "committed the theft for a 'very important reason' because someone he knew was sick."
In its announcement, the Berkeley Police Department said it will continue its targeted retail theft enforcement operations — a collaboration between detectives, patrol and bike officers — "to the extent we are able with our current staffing constraints."