Santa Rosa's Lululemon ripped off, again

Santa Rosa's Lululemon store has been ripped off again, for the third time in four months.  

The break-ins have neighboring merchants concerned about safety and what can be done. 

"We all definitely get shaken up, our adrenaline gets going," said Anita Knierim, who works at Urban Garden, next door to Lululemon in the Montgomery Village Shopping Center. 

In past incidents, suspects have swarmed the store during business hours, grabbing up merchandise and getting away swiftly. 

This time, the burglary happened at 2 a.m. Monday, when the open-air mall was deserted.  

"They threw some kind of a brick through the window, went to the back of the store, and took as much clothing and items that they could," said Santa Rosa Police Lt. Jeneane Kucker.

Police are working to acquire surveillance video from Lululemon and other nearby merchants. 

"It seems crazy, I just can't believe they did this again, what can they do with all this clothing?" said Nancy Kucich, owner of Fireside Stationery located directly across from the Lululemon store. 

While suspects often escape, two Vallejo men were caught while fleeing the Santa Rosa store Dec. 3. Thousands of dollars in high-end active-wear was recovered in their car. 

They are facing numerous felony charges, including assault, for attacking a security guard as they left the store.  

Since that incident, Lululemon posts two guards during store hours, which may be why an overnight break-in became the new tactic. 

"There is nervousness now, what does this mean to other businesses?" said Paul Van Peborgh, Manager of Fireside Stationery. 
Van Peborgh wonders if Lululemon should lock away its stock, like jewelers do. "The reality is, they either have to put gates up or lock up or close up because it's gotten worse. Having a guard there made a lot of sense, but now they've shown plate glass won't stop them."

December's assault on the guard also raised alarm among merchants. 

"The guard was filming them but he wasn't trying to stop them or harm them," said Knierim, "and while he was on the ground they were just punching him, really bad."

The guard was hospitalized with serious injuries, but has since returned to work. 

Lululemon's clothing has been a magnet for thieves across the Bay Area and California, with stolen merchandise crossing state, and even international borders. 

Customers were dismayed the store was boarded up on Monday. 

"I had no idea that it was being targeted, it's insane to me," said shopper Amanda Lindfors, who was disappointed to find the store shuttered after driving from her home in Rohnert Park.  "I just wanted leggings for school so I could take my yoga classes and it's really hard to find good leggings."

Her husband had a more dispassionate view. 

"You can steal these leggings that cost a hundred bucks and sell them for half and make a massive profit on them," said Justin Lindfors, "and so they're saleable because people want them and want a good deal."