Culture

Internet steps in to aid store plagued by chocolate-stealing squirrels

A Canadian store turns to the internet for ideas in its ongoing battle with a pair of squirrel bandits who love candy.

Two thieves are operating with abandon in Toronto, and the only reason they haven't been hauled into custody is they are tiny, have four legs and sport bushy tails. Two squirrels, a black one and a light brown one, are boldly entering a convenience store and making off with chocolate bars.

Luke's Grocery first looked to social site Reddit for help last year, posting a query titled "How to stop squirrels from stealing chocolate bars?" Reddit user Quilterrday is still updating that original post. The latest development is a video, published on Wednesday, of the black squirrel in full thieving action walking out with a Crunchie bar worth CA$1.80.

Reddit users have made quite a few suggestions for handling the problem, including getting a screen door, installing Plexiglas across the shelf or putting out a hawk decoy to scare them off.

The wisest suggestion, however, came from Reddit user sunshine_bear: "Maybe you should capitalize on the cute and quirky nature of this. Use cameras to catch the squirrel stealing candy and post it on YouTube." That's exactly what Luke's Grocery is now doing.

So far, there are just two videos posted to the StopThatSquirrel DropThatBar YouTube channel, but they're getting thousands of views. If the footage really takes off, Luke's Grocery might not want to solve the problem. Instead, it could ride the viral publicity wave of cute squirrel-criminal videos.

So far, the squirrels have stolen a variety of bars, including an O'Henry, a Mr. Big, a Crunchie and a Kinder Bueno. As of this week, Luke's Grocery is strongly considering a fake bird of prey or a rearrangement of the chocolate shelves. We can also look forward to more surveillance footage of the furry bandits on YouTube, which should help the store offset some of its chocolately losses.