Beware: Heavyset, Flamboyant Shoplifters on the Loose

Would you watch a TV show about a pack of heavyset, neon-clad girls and their flamboyant male friend who use their non-threatening personae as a smokescreen for a successful multi-year shoplifting spree?

Of course you would.

Unfortunately, this isn't a sitcom. It's really happening, right here in the Lower Haight. And this week, the so-called "Rainbow Gang" struck again.

On Tuesday, Wak Shack Salon (782 Haight) was the latest victim of the shoplifters — a group that closely matches the description of perpetrators of similar crimes in both the immediate area and around the city.

A Wak Shack employee writes us:

"[A] group of three people came into the salon ... inquiring about salon services, looking at products, nonchalantly wandering around. No one at the salon was suspicious at all until after the group left and the receptionist realized her phone was missing. At some point they had taken it straight off the front desk. There were 2 heavyset, tall black girls (one of them was called Nicole, we think) and 1 very flamboyant black guy."

Two years ago, a very similar crime was reported at Madusalon, just a block away on Divisadero. In that incident, the crooks were described as:

  • All African American

  • All dressed in neon clothing and jeans

  • Heavy set woman, facial piercing, straight hair

  • Very energetic male happy to talk to you and distract you while the other people steal

Yesterday, Madusalon manager Joseph Huff told us that the group was never caught, to his knowledge. On the contrary, they brazenly returned to the salon on another occasion and stole his iPhone.

Commenters on that original Madusalon story reported similar incidents with what they dubbed the "rainbow gang" or "rainbow girls" at a salon in the Castro, a boutique in Union Square, and a bookstore in the Upper Haight. In those cases, iPhones and laptops were stolen, and none of the cases resulted in arrests.

So local businesses, consider yourselves warned: be on the lookout for the Rainbow Gang. And if they do target your shop, let us know. Actually, first let the police know. Then let us know.

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Beware heavyset flamboyant shoplifters on the loose