CVS employee helps nab suspected 'stinky thief'

Suspect in shoplifting incident identified as strong-smelling bank robbery suspect

A brash shoplifting incident and a determined CVS employee led to the arrest of a bank robbery suspect last week.

Jeff Pichler said he was behind the counter at the CVS Pharmacy on California Street on Tuesday morning, July 8, when suspect William Brackin entered the pharmacy to buy a pack of cigarettes. According to Pichler, after he set the cigarettes on the counter, Brackin began to leave the store without paying for them. The suspect reportedly did not heed Pichler's requests that he pay for the cigarettes.

"He told me that he didn't care and that he robbed a bank," Pichler said. "He encouraged me in his own way to call the authorities."

At the time, Pichler said he was unaware that a man matching his description had allegedly robbed the Bank of America on Castro Street on July 1. Pichler called the police and followed Brackin out of the store, staying approximately 50 feet behind him, and describing the suspect's appearance to authorities.

Pichler said he lost sight of the suspect in the alley by Ava's Downtown Market and Deli. Pichler then proceeded to Castro Street, where he believed the suspect was headed. According to Pichler, he eventually spotted Brackin on Castro Street and alerted a police officer who was driving from Pichler's left.

A group of police officers then approached Brackin in front of Art Frame Studio and Easy Foods Company and arrested him around 11 a.m. An officer informed Pichler that police also suspected Brackin of robbing the Bank of America on Castro Street the previous week. Witnesses to that robbery described the suspect of having a strong smell indicative of someone who had not bathed recently.

Pichler said that the suspect expressed confidence that he could evade arrest from local police during the pursuit.

"He told me that the police couldn't catch him," Pichler said. "I thought, 'Come on. The Mountain View Police Department is better than that.'"


Like this comment
Posted by No Soap To Drop
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 14, 2014 at 12:36 pm

A fool and his money are soon.... oh man, what IS that smell?

Like this comment
Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 14, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Greg David is a registered user.


It makes you invincible!

Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

Good he is caught... not quite as dramatic as it first sounded.

I suppose he falls under the "wanted to get caught" cliche.

Like this comment
Posted by Ronnie Falcao
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2014 at 11:00 am

Jeff has always been fabulous at customer service. I'm just amazed that he's also so fabulous at civic service. Thank you, Jeff!

Like this comment
Posted by CVS customer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Yes, Jeff has been a great asset to our local CVS for some time now, very focused on customer service. And as this story shows, with good presence of mind, even in a bizarre situation.

And the full narrative was, actually, more "dramatic" and colorful directly from Jeff, when I quizzed him very soon after the original story that reported the episode as having started in CVS. Space, decorum, etc. probably ruled out printing all the details here.

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