Thieves steal $13,000 in goods from Berkeley Sephora

Police spotted the getaway car but could not chase it because of BPD's vehicle pursuit policy.

Thieves steal $13,000 in goods from Berkeley Sephora
An example of items taken from Sephora during a heist last year. Berkeley Police Department

A trio hit the Berkeley Sephora on Fourth Street over the weekend, stealing $13,000 in products from the beauty shop, authorities report.

On Saturday, two men and a woman went into Sephora, at 1785 Fourth St., and took the items around 11:15 a.m., Berkeley police said in response to a Scanner inquiry.

The group got into a blue sedan and fled north on Fourth Street, BPD said.

A Berkeley police sergeant on patrol who happened to be working nearby tried to stop the car, police said.

The driver "failed to yield and fled from the officer at a high rate of speed," BPD said.

The sergeant did not pursue the car because BPD's pursuit policy does not allow officers to chase property crime suspects.

The investigation is ongoing.

Berkeley police go undercover to target store burglaries
With property crime on the rise in recent years, the Berkeley Police Department has been doing more proactive work to curtail the trend.

Property crime was up about 10% in Berkeley last year, with commercial burglaries alone seeing a 32% increase, according to BPD's annual crime report.

Last year, BPD publicized three Sephora thefts (among many others): a $2,000 take in January; an arrest in April; and a $4,000 theft in November.

Police have said that commercial burglaries on Fourth Street began to rise after BPD stopped putting officers outside the Apple Store and North Face Outlet in 2022 — a result of BPD's ongoing staffing crunch, with officer staffing stuck at historic lows in recent years.

The combination of high-end goods and easy freeway access have made the area attractive to thieves.

In addition to Sephora, the North Face Outlet, the Apple Store and Lululemon have all been regular targets.

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