Community Voices

Guest Opinion: Crime at Citrus Town Center is getting out of hand

Guest opinion submitted by Jayna Karpinski-Costa–
Sylvan Old Auburn Road Neighborhood Association (SOAR, Area 10) has an annual fireworks booth in the parking lot of the Citrus Town Center, formerly known as the Sunrise Festival Shopping Center. We were there the other week when the elderly woman was pushed over and robbed in the parking lot — we heard her scream, and my husband saw the culprit running from the scene.

Related: CHPD seeks to identify man after robbery at Citrus Town Center

The Sentinel re-published a picture of someone thought to be the suspect, and the Citrus Heights Police Department put that photo on their social media and is getting “leads.”

Jayna Karpinski-Costa
Jayna Karpinski-Costa

Here’s what “gripes my gizzard” (as my neighbor used to say). Just a few hours earlier (around 7 p.m.), a CHPD person was right there in the parking lot at our fireworks stand taking a statement from me about a robbery we experienced at about 1:30 p.m. when someone careened by our fireworks stand and stole the “Big Bang” — a large assortment of fireworks valued at $500. It had just been delivered and was still in the box just outside the stand.

SOAR is one of the many non-profits whose volunteers stand in the hot sun for 14-hours-a-day, for seven days, selling fireworks to raise money to invest in projects and programs that benefit Citrus Heights residents. We were out $500 (our insurance does not cover theft).

This is a lot of money to us, and I did not see our theft on the CHPD social pages, nor any thing about an investigation to catch the thief, or any attempt to look at cameras that might have caught the person somewhere in the parking lot.

Why not? Was this not important enough to investigate? How much money was in that lady’s wallet who was robbed that same day?

So what is the criteria to have detectives “detect”? Is there a “thresh hold” that triggers an active investigation? Maybe a stolen purse is more something than $500 worth of fireworks, but I don’t know what was in the purse.

But then, my wallet was stolen from Panera’s two years ago. I filed a police report online the same day and never heard from CHPD. Three months later, the culprits extracted $24,500 from my brother’s probate account.

I filed a police report again (in person). Two months later, CHPD called and showed me a photo provided by the bank of the person who took out the money. That’s the last of it. There were several leads available at the time my purse was stolen, but those possibilities faded with the passage of time.

There was a similar case in Vacaville, with a photo that looked like my culprit, but that passed as well. No wonder CHPD complains they have so many open files!

And as for the Citrus Town Center and what might be characterized as “isolated occurrences,” check the police blotter. It is replete with criminal reports.

A simple solution would be for management to invest in a security detail. Not one that quits at 10 p.m. or that sleeps through the night, but one that bops around on a scooter all night long and covers the entire block from Sprouts to HD Supply.

Jayna Karpinski-Costa is a former Citrus Heights councilwoman and current president of the Sunrise Old Auburn Road neighborhood association.

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