Alleged Shoplifter Captured by Shop Owner


Yesterday, around noon, Garberville business owner Richard Barnick apprehended a man he alleged stole from his shop. The suspect, Levi Andrew McDonald, was arrested and booked on charges of larceny.

Fellow business owner Blake Lehman witnessed the event. He says he went to Barnick’s aid. “Richard had this guy down on the ground. He said, ‘All I want is my stuff.'”

Lehman said at first the suspect denied stealing anything but then said indignantly, “I didn’t steal from you today.”

According to Lehman, Barnick again demanded that the man pull items he had taken from his pants. The man eventually pulled a packaged headlamp out, said Lehman, at which point another business owner said that that item had been taken from her store.

Lehman said that both of the other business owners claim that they have videoed McDonald taking items from their business.

shop lifter

McDonald was arrested at 12:20 p.m. and released at 2:48 p.m. without paying bail.




  • Kym
    Thank-you for posting this. Richard, thank-you for having the courage to do the right thing and apprehend this thief.
    The Chamber of Commerce had a meeting last thursday on the subject of what we can do about the miscreants in our otherwise fair town. It was decided that we will start sharing security videos and pictures of thieves and shoplifters. We will apprehend them if possible, and demand that action be taken to the full extent of the law. The next step may be to post the thieves pictures, of them in the act, in a public place so everybody will know what they are and watch them carefully. The town is going to get to be a much smaller target for a thief.
    We discussed that we instinctively don’t want to hassle people, but thieves take advantage of us because of that. We are going to become as aggressive at apprehension as they are at thievery.


      Youtube the videos of the city people ripping off small business owners and other hard working people. The men need to stand up and be men- that’s how it’s gotta be. A better outcome wouldn’t be to have the cops involved, but an area where there are no cameras to take those types to for some re education and a lesson in manners. They only speak one language and will speak it until they learn very upfront and personal that you don’t come to rural towns and walk that talk.

      Unless the chamber is going to learn to talk to those types in ways they understand it will continue.

      Cheers to the store owner for showing great restraint and not removing his teeth on the curb. Maybe someone should open a store that sells shrunken heads of city people that do naughty things, plenty of supply to work with.

      • “A better outcome wouldn’t be to have the cops involved, but an area where there are no cameras to take those types to for some re education and a lesson in manners. ”

        No. This shopkeeper’s response was the correct one — firmness, but restraint. Stand up to wrong behavior, but don’t let the miscreants lead you to do even greater wrongs.


          Oh? Would you be shocked if the city guy showed up drunk and broke a window in the next week or two? They’ll just release him before his buzz wears off so he can continue his rampage through rural America. The only answer is to make them WANT to return to the city because they were forced to deal privately with rural MEN, not law enforcement that doesn’t seem to have any power over these city slickers.

          Make lists, post pics, load them in a truck after some manners classes, and drop them off in Mendo so they can walk back to the city where they belong. Far too many city people feel free to loot and rampage rural America and take advantage of our way of life. They need to return to the concrete and explain to their friends why they will never return to damage rural people’s lives.

          Until Rural Men walk like Men and protect their property and Families, the city tide will continue to rise. Enough is enough, city people need to go back home so rural people can live in Peace with their lifestyles and be free of those that do not share our values.

          Rural Men, take back what’s YOURS! It’s our job as heads of Families, it’s why we are Men. It’s why our values run so deep, it’s our source of pride, it’s our motivation, it’s what we pass to our children in order to build a stronger future for rural families.

          Stay grounded.

          • Having grown up in a rural area, and lived in both rural areas and cities during my life, and observed both locals and out-of towners (from rural and urban areas alike) committing crimes in Humboldt, I just don’t agree that it’s a city vs rural thing. Also, as far as I’m concerned the shopkeeper DID stand up for his property and for the community. Meanwhile all your tough, irresponsible talk amounts to a whole lot less than this shopkeeper’s firm, but responsible, actions. It’s called being a responsible adult, which includes knowing how to stand up for yourself and your community without crossing the line and acting like a thug yourself. Our community doesn’t need loudmouth wannabe vigilantes beating their chests and spewing their creepy threats, we just need more folks like this shopkeeper…so that if this guy does come back and cause trouble again, he’ll find out that getting caught wasn’t a fluke, but something he can expect to happen in this community.

  • Waist of time and risk. This scumbag will be off to some other mischief now with no regrets. Didn’t even have to pay bail.
    [edit]The system will fail you and Ronald McDonald. The system is a circus and this guy is a clown.

  • ESTELLE! We need your help on this! Violence and theft are being perpetrated on us every single day, and the Sheriff’s deputies are not protecting us.

  • We need to help each other. When someone is stealing from one of us,they are stealing from all of us.

  • I also think as income inequality gets worse, we should punish, ridicule, blame those that are caught stealing. Because these are the people who are bringing our society down.

    I think we should throw the book at them, we should impose cruel and unusual penalties such as an extra kick, we should continue to hire more police and/or continue to take justice into our own hands.

    I believe the Chamber of Commerce has a fair vision of the proper route forward and this route forward will be in part separating miscreants from non-miscreants.

    I also think we should continue to ignore any connection between focusing our increasingly desperate economic situation on a product which no one seems to want to admit tends to lead to lives which may not be as productive, on average, than a life with mj absent from it.

    In sum, I don’t think we imprison enough in this country and I think the path forward is rounding up more clowns like Mr. McDonald and lionizing the vigilantes catching the clowns in the act.

    (note, the above is sarcasm)

    • Yeah, poor Mr. McDonald is obviously just a victim of an unjust economy. And Mr. Barnick is just as obviously a heartless vigilante worthy of your disdain.

      (note, the above is sarcasm)

      Bullshit. Mr. McDonald is a thief, and Mr. Barnick is a victim of crime who showed both courage and restraint in dealing with the thief.

      The weakness and unfairness of the overall economy may (or quite likely may not) help explain Mr. McDonald’s theft, but it does not excuse it (convince me that his theft was the equivalent of someone with no other options stealing bread to feed his starving family and I might change my mind…but very few of the thefts we’re seeing are anywhere near that category).

      Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure small business people like Mr. Barnick are not the cause of the weakness and unfairness in the overall economy. So, smart guy, putting aside your apparent disdain for our local community in general, and our small businesses in particular, what do YOU think folks in Mr Barnick’s position should do? Just let the thieves walk away with the stolen goods while waiting an hour or so for the Sheriff’s Dept to show up?

      • good question. let me think about that.

        • O.K., time’s up! Just kidding…but it really isn’t an easy question, is it? Look, I actually agree with your overall point about our over-imprisoning society, the very serious problem of rampant and growing income inequality, and that the truly Big Crooks that are really taking our society down never seem to be the ones getting pinned to the sidewalk and hauled off in a cop car. All that Big Picture stuff does ring true with me. But at the same time, when you’re a small business owner and people come in and and steal your merchandise, you kinda have to do *something,* unless you’re willing to just get victimized again and again. So on a Small Picture level, it seems to me that what Mr. Barnick did was quite reasonable.

  • Small town justice!!sometimes this is all you need.”Don’t come back now,”yaw here”!

  • Glad to see you posted a picture of this shoplifter so other merchants can ID, intercept and turn him OUT the door BEFORE he costs them money and lost time.

  • Shaking my head at this. He was out of the thieving business for only 2 hours and 28 minutes. No bail. No negative consequences for his behavior, only positive reinforcement that he can repeat the cycle as much as he wants.

    How much did this small law enforcement event cost the taxpayers? That’s a legitimate question, but the more important and difficult question is how much is it costing everyone, both the direct costs to the merchants and the indirect costs to our area?

    Sarcasm or not from one commenter, still brings up the issue of laying blame on the cause of the lawlessness. Blaming the deputies for not protecting us misses the target by a mile. Blaming a plant that is the biggest economic engine in our area sounds good to a lot of knee-jerk reactionaries, but I don’t think that addresses the big picture or offers any realistic course of action to change anything.

    What is undeniable is that the Marijuana Black Market does attract certain people to the area like flies on a roadkill. They aren’t really a productive part of the industry, they’re just scavengers looking to pick up the scraps and very often the scraps seem to include meth and heroin in a hopeless life cycle of supporting addiction. Meth and heroin use is pervasive in many places, but here in our area it benefits from the tolerance the marijuana industry created.

    So yes, I can see where the Marijuana Black Market culture rightfully deserves some, but not all of the blame. If people are tired of the consequences we see on the streets and in our local small businesses then they need to have the courage to vote for legalization next year.

    I don’t know if the initiative groups will be able to write a legalization initiative that will protect the small marijuana farmer economy of the Emerald Triangle, but if analysis of the last legalization initiative is any indicator, how the Triangle votes doesn’t really matter—it’s how the middle-of-the-road more conservative voters in the heavily populated urban areas who don’t even use cannabis or care about our local economy feel about the initiative. What’s in it for them? They tend to vote with their wallets, not out of idealistic principals of justice and personal freedom, so they need to be sold on issues that matter to them like raising government revenues by some other means than increasing their personal tax burden, decreasing costs to government, economic benefits and public safety.

  • Good to see the folks in SOHum taking care of business! Good luck!

  • So is he gonna have a court date and pay fines or something? Did we get a decent mug shot so we can post it? What’s the point of arresting if there’s no consequences? We should have restraining orders against repeat thieves that ban them from the town limits of Garberville and Redway.

    I think part of the problem is that the cops don’t want to have to drive all the way up to Eureka to jail these f#*cktards. I say just put them in the pen at the Garberville substation and then drive them up at the end of the day in a paddy wagon.

    I’m still perturbed by the purported sentiment of Sheriff Downey that SoHum prefers lawlessness and therefore he doesn’t feel that SoHum is a priority for policing. Now, I heard this a few months ago and I’m paraphrasing what I heard and have not substantiated the facts of his statement, but if he’s made statements that even hint at this sentiment, I really don’t think he’s fit to be Sheriff of Humboldt County.

    Like it or not, Garberville/Redway is the community center of Southern Humboldt, and the local merchants have had to put up with so much crap these last few years, along with the locals who actually live here and pay taxes. What are we supposed to do, just give up, let the shops close, and let the bums and meth/heroin dealers rule the streets?

    Let’s secure some Measure Z funds now and get 24-hour manning of the Garberville substation! Come up with solutions now! Hey Estelle, how about calling for a town meeting?

  • Released without bail? The law enforcement around here is a complete joke, yet they want to intimidate growers In the sticks,..
    Wtf is really going on and how does the state justify taxes if they cant even keep order??
    We pay them our heard earned tax money and all we get is excuses.

  • Redway is turning into dread way and garberville into garbageville, so tired of this human waste and miscreants, drug addicts, prostitutes, and and criminals flocking into our beloved village!
    It’s time to play tough ball and let these bums know that we are tired of them and they aren’t welcome!

  • Too many times I hear the complaint of “catch and release”. The state of California has tied the cops hands with prop 47 (any crime under $950.00? dollars is a misdemeanor and not a jailable offence). I’m not sure that I agree with putting thieves in jail anyway. The main thing is to identify the thieves so we can keep them out of our stores. It is a waste of resources to house, feed and shower these people. Jail is no real punishment anymore. It is like a paid vacation at our expense. I agree with the trip to jail, the booking and the official charge of a crime. That way we know who the thieves are.

    This man has been in our store before. We have all along suspected him of being a shoplifter. When he comes in we follow him around until he leaves. Now we can simply tell him “we know that you are a thief” and tell him to leave. Before he was caught we couldn’t do that. There is nothing worse than than accusing a person of being a thief without evidence. Most all of us know the anguish of being accused of something falsely.

    We have some customers that are so rough looking that they would scare babies out of their buggies, yet they are salt of the earth, decent, kind people that would not steal anything. So accusing someone of thievery is a fine line that cannot be crossed without proof. Like I said this man has been in our store before, now he won’t be. We have his picture in our rogues gallery.

    Thanks again Cinnamon, Richard, and most of Kym for this great community service. We can never solve this problem without publicity.

    I don’t know who the cops were, but I would be remiss in not thanking them also. They did their job, and now the man has a record. GOOD job!

    • OR’d with a date to appear in Court. When he fails to appear a bench warrant will issue. His life will be made more and more miserable as time goes by, but it is a slow process. We have a refreshing new District Attorney in our county at this time and she is already making a difference, listening to citizens, acting quickly and appropriately as the law will allow. Law Enforcement is eager for direction and consistency, and so just watch and see what a difference a couple years with new insightful leadership in the District Attorney’s Office will be making in our community. Ernie, your points were right on point!

  • It’s about time we go back to the ways that respect and values were originally instilled into us as a community.
    The right to a fair and speedy trial followed by a public hanging.
    We’ve became a society with no respect for others because there is no consequence for our actions.
    A good old fashion ass kicking used to straiten a guy out but that doesn’t even happen anymore.

  • I wonder if the Book Store people are happy about what they have created?
    They’ve really helped turn this town to shit by bringing all the bums in.

  • He has been kicked out of Shopsmart numerous times.

  • OR date is 6/19 at 10:00 a.m. in Garberville. Mark your calendar and crowd the courtroom.

  • I’m all for taking back our community, stand up for what’s ours and let these p o s get what they have coming.

  • So glad that Richard was able to recover the merchandise. I’ve been in retail since 1967, and had easy shoplifting busts, and ones where I had to let them go because I was threatened with a knife. There should be a “hotline” where after so many mis-demeanor arrests, they graduate to felony status. Kind of like 3 strikes. I say, YES, publish that guys picture and let others know who to look for. Not every store can just write it off and say, “Oh Well”. BTW, it’s also time for us as a community to report to shop keepers when you see this type of activity happening. You may say that you don’t want to get involved, but you are just as guilty by not reporting it as the person stealing is, and eventually you wind up paying more for your merchandise, to make up for the stolen items. (end of rant)

  • This thief is NOT a victim as at least one opinioned writer states in his “sarcasm”!!! Very few humans have picture perfect childhoods. Most do not become criminals!!!! Its called accountability!!! Look up the word. Add it to your vocabulary. Or….just take this fine, descent, kind, hardworking, misunderstood young fella into YOUR home with YOUR family. Feed him, nurture him, hold him. That’s all he really ever wanted anyway…one big meaningful hug. He didn’t really want the merchandise. Just some one to tell him they care.!!! How’s that for sarcasm??!!!!

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