A burglary at the Whole Foods story in Petaluma was an inside job perpetrated by a current store employee, police said.
Rohnert Park resident Matthew Cryer, 20, who was out on bail for two recent residential burglaries, was arrested in connection with the theft and was jailed briefly before bailing out again Wednesday night, authorities said.
Police believe that Cryer, a meat clerk, walked through the front door of the East Washington Street grocery around 6 a.m. Wednesday, wearing a makeshift mask.
Though the store was not yet open to the public, other workers were around, but apparently did not notice him, police Sgt. Jim Stephenson said.
Making his way to the rear of the building, Cryer climbed into a crawl space that led over the store office. He then cut through the drywall ceiling and jumped into the office below, Stephenson said.
He allegedly tried to open a safe but was unsuccessful, and instead took undisclosed property from the office, Stephenson said.
Police believe the burglar made his way back out through the crawl space before exiting the store still wearing the mask, constructed from a T-shirt with two eye holes cut in it.
Two employees spotted him at that point but did not know who he was, police said.
Because of Cryer’s previous arrests, officers recognized his name from a list of store personnel and went to check on him. They found his car parked in Rohnert Park with evidence visible inside, a store manager said.
Police put the car under surveillance and detained Cryer as he approached it later in the day.
A search of his car and residence turned up the mask and clothes worn by the burglar, as well as property from the store, police said.
Cryer had worked at the store since August 2008. Store management was not aware of his recent arrest record, store manager Dana Leavitt said.
Cryer was arrested Wednesday for suspected commercial burglary and a commission of a felony while out on bail, police said.
He was held on $20,000 bail until posting bond Wednesday night, jail personnel said.