On Sept. 15, five female juveniles stole approximately $80 of alcohol from Standard Liquor in Los Altos and rushed out of the store. All five perpetrators were identified, arrested and released on a citation by the Los Altos Police Department, as of Sept. 23. Although no identities have been disclosed, there are suspicions that Lynbrook and Monta Vista High School students were involved.
Surveillance camera footage from the store shows the shoplifters entering through the front door at around 8:30 p.m. and subsequently browsing the refrigerated aisles. After obtaining the alcohol, they exited through the same door.
“The store clerk followed the suspects outside and confronted them,” said Sergeant Cameron Shearer of the Los Altos Police Department in email communication. “One of the suspects allegedly kicked the clerk while trying to escape. Because force was used, the theft could now potentially be classified as a robbery.”
On Sept. 21, news of the robbery began circulating through the Lynbrook community due to the possibility of local student involvement. After footage and photos from the store’s security camera were widely shared, at least two anonymous Instagram accounts created posts mocking the potential perpetrators. One Lynbrook student posted the footage on Instagram and tagged the suspected students but later took down the post after being doxxed.
Doxxing involves a search for private or identifying information with malicious intent. In this case, an individual posted an Instagram story offering money in exchange for the phone number and home address of the Lynbrook student who posted the footage. Shortly after, a separate anonymous account messaged the student their own address with a threatening message, which has not been acted upon as of Sept. 23. While there has been speculation that the accounts related to the doxxing incident may be tied to the original crime, there has been no confirmation of such a connection.
Despite the risks involved, one of the anonymous Instagram accounts that posted about the situation has decided to continue doing so, while taking precautions such as changing moderators’ typing patterns to avoid personal identification. The account became active on Sept. 21, following news of the alleged robbery, and as of Sept. 23, all but one of its posts use photos of the suspects and security camera footage to ridicule their behavior and poke fun at the situation.
“We thought that something that was this fresh and widely understood to be a terrible idea would create lots of opportunities for humor, so we started making these posts,” said the account owners.
As the story circulated across various online platforms, the public assisted the Los Altos Police Department in identifying the suspects, leading to the shoplifters being arrested and released on a citation. Because the suspects are minors, no further information regarding their identities will be disclosed.
*The Editorial Board of the Epic decided to publish this story following careful consideration of its impact on the safety and well-being of all individuals involved. In our research, we communicated with the Los Altos Police Department and reached out to several related parties, some of whom declined to comment or did not respond.