A break-in and theft at a Gilbert butcher shop last week threw town residents into panic mode that “looting” was on the horizon as the global pandemic continued to disrupt supermarket supplies.
Gilbert Police arrested Jeffrey Charles Schomer, 42, shortly after he allegedly broke into Gilbert Butchery and absconded with cash and a trash can filled with frozen meat. The Gilbert resident faces criminal trespass and burglary charges, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
“There is a small window that was broken, next to the door and they came in that way,” said Krista Roosevelt, who owns the shop with her husband, Dan.
The couple in April 2019 opened the business near Val Vista Drive and Warner Road, specializing in fine-cut meats.
“They just broke the register and got the cash and grabbed a garbage can and took meats from the freezer really quickly,” Roosevelt said.
She didn’t know the value of the meat taken but noted there wasn’t much left in the freeze out front to begin with because most of it had been sold the day before.
“The garbage can was recovered,” she said. “They found all the meat in his freezer after they caught him.”
Schomer’s arrest came after a Gilbert officer on patrol saw the shop’s smashed window, according to a police news release. The burglary took place around 4:45 a.m.
Police viewed the store’s surveillance video and later located and arrested Schomer.
Schomer is a repeat offender with criminal cases that include identify theft, theft of a vehicle and burglary charges dating back as far as 1997, according to court records.
Schomer’s last reported arrest was in February. He was apprehended on suspicion of third-degree burglary after a police officer observed Schomer and another man in the parking lot of a hardware store in Apache Junction moments after it has been burglarized.
Over the past few months several businesses were burglarized in Gilbert and other East Valley locations, according to police.
Gilbert Police said Schomer has been linked to commercial burglaries in Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler and Tempe and that more charges may be added later after the investigations conclude.
The news of the shop’s burglary was posted on social media, generating over 300 comments, many blaming the hoarding situation for the cause.
“Wow, people are getting desperate and more of this is going to happen,” one person predicted.
“Looting!?” another stated.
Still another: “Sad and predictable. When grocery store shelves go empty, wait for the madhouse. Glutton buyers have bought all the TP, water and now meat shelves. Poaching is the next best option when modern society has no answer for middle America.”
For Roosevelt, it was business as usual the day after the burglary, minus a working register. She’s ordered more meat and she’s upgraded the store’s security system.
She for one, hoped the burglary was not because of the fallout of the coronavirus.
“I just hope it’s not,” Roosevelt said. “We hope that it’s not going to happen again.”