“It did cross my mind why they were wearing sweatshirts on such a warm day,” said Second Chance owner Pat Lougee about the five men who visited her store together on Friday.

Friday the 13th was an unlucky day for two Siskiyou County small businesses. The theft of $300 was reported by the owners of Second Chance Consignment in Mount Shasta around 12:30 p.m. and a wallet was stolen from Twigs & Sprigs Flower Shop in Yreka about an hour later.

It is “highly likely” that the same group of men, described as tall, black, and wearing black hoodie sweatshirts are responsible for both crimes, said Mount Shasta Police Department Lieutenant Joe Restine.

“It did cross my mind why they were wearing sweatshirts on such a warm day,” said Second Chance owner Pat Lougee about the five men who visited her store together on Friday. “One of them did all the talking,” she added. “The guy was soft-spoken, and asked, ‘Could you help me?’”

The man told Lougee that he wanted to buy a gift of jewelry for his mother, and asked where the jewelry was, Lougee said.

Lougee said she pointed out where all of the jewelry displays in the store were located. The man who’d said he was shopping for his mother told Lougee that he wanted to buy some bracelets, and asked her if she would help him pick out a bracelet. The bracelet display was in another part of the store, away from the store office.

Lougee said when she showed him the bracelets two of the men engaged her in conversation.

Rather than making a purchase, Lougee said the man told her, “I think I’ll bring my mother in” and those two men left the store.

Lougee said that the other three men had already slipped out of the store before them. When she realized that, it dawned on her that something was amiss, so she immediately went to her office to see if anything was missing. That’s when Lougee discovered that the other three men had stolen all the cash – $300 – out of the cash drawer.

Lougee said there were other customers in and out of the store while it was happening.

“They certainly did it fast ... That’s really brazen, in broad daylight. And I saw all of their faces,” she said.

Restine said the MSPD responded about five minutes after they got the call and searched the surrounding area. Officers said the men were seen walking northbound on Mt. Shasta Boulevard but there was no surveillance video that indicates where they went from there.

“We even checked with the Green Heart (for surveillance video), but there was nothing,” said Restine.

Lougee said this wasn’t the first time her store has been the victim of theft. A year ago, she said, the crime had been committed at night, when the store was closed.

Yreka Police Department Sergeant Jeremy Potter said officers responded to Twigs & Sprigs just before 1:30 p.m. on a report of a robbery.

In a phone interview shortly after the second unlucky event in Yreka, a Twigs & Sprigs employee said, “There were three of us in here (working).” She described the men who’d robbed the Yreka flower shop as “three, tall, thin, African-American young men all dressed in dark hoodies.”

She said two of the men acted like they wanted to buy some flowers, while the third man asked if he could use the restroom. She said the store owner showed him where the bathroom was located.

“One of them distracted the owner,” the employee said. Although the men had made a pretense of wanting to buy flowers, when it came time to make their purchase, they said they didn’t have their wallet, and started checking their pockets, as if they were looking for their wallet.

“The next thing I know, I heard my boss shout, ‘What are you doing in my office?!’” Apparently, the man who’d pretended to go to the restroom had instead entered the store owner’s office, she said.

“When she (the owner, Shauna Wilson) confronted him in her office, he took off running” with her wallet.

Potter said the wallet contained cash, and one of the suspects used one of the stolen credit cards in Medford, Ore. later that day.

By statute, because the man pushed by the victim in the course of stealing the wallet, the crime qualifies as a robbery, Potter explained. YPD has been in contact with the Medford Police Department, which is following up on the case.

Speaking about the local law enforcement’s response, the Twigs & Sprigs employee said, “The cops were wonderful. They got here rapidly,” adding, “We have video footage.”

If anyone has any information about either of these crimes, contact the Mount Shasta Police Department at (530) 926-7540 or the Yreka Police Department at (530) 841-2300.