You own a small convenience store in Toronto, where business has been steady for years. You take pride in keeping your displays tidy, your accounting up-to-date, and you enjoy interacting with your regular customers.
But as summer gives way to winter, you notice a gradual change in your accounting as well: theft is on the rise. You find yourself hearing rustling noises that indicate the thief is near, but surely your eyes are playing tricks on you, since there’s nobody to be seen.
You tell your spouse that you’re hearing things; she laughs and suggests perhaps you’re going nuts. So you set up a hidden camera and find out the truth: someone is going nutty inside your store, and it isn’t you.
Paul Kim, owner of Luke’s Grocery in Toronto, noticed an uptick in candy bar thefts each fall, experiencing the highest number of thefts ever in 2016. With some clever hidden camera investigating, he discovered his bandit was a squirrel — a sneaky, fast sprinter with a penchant for chocolate.
— StopThatSquirrel (@StopThtSquirrel) January 6, 2017
What started as one squirrel thief soon turned into a ring of thieves. “I always see them sneaking outside the door, looking in my store, and even right at me!” Kim said of the squirrels’ boldness.
Kim’s daughter, Cindy, thought it would be fun to share her family’s squirrel trouble online. She set up social media accounts, including the Twitter account she named “Stop That Squirrel,” where she regularly posts videos and photos of the squirrel bandits.
An obvious question at this point might be how the Kim family has tried to solve the problem. Close a door? Install a screen?
Cindy explained that in the wintertime, the door does remain closed, but squirrels are notoriously sneaky. Sometimes, the door has to be left open for deliveries or during cleaning, and that’s when the menaces strike.
The Kims tried getting animal control involved, but were told animal authorities were unable to focus their efforts on wildlife situations such as theirs. So, the squirrels persist in stealing Crunchie bars, Kinder Bueno (“good choice”) and sometimes Wonderbars, if the mood strikes.
“We find them very, very cute, however, these squirrels have stolen considerably from us this fall, so, we’d like that to stop,” Cindy explained on a Reddit thread titled, How to stop squirrels from stealing chocolate bars? Many users have chimed in with their suggestions, including inviting customers to make a donation and “buy a squirrel a chocolate bar!”
The Kim family is looking forward to summertime, when squirrel theft declines and shop owners can rest easy. Until then, the family is doing their best to #stopthatsquirrel!
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