It’s the unkindest cut.
Two thieves found their way into a bris held for Councilman Mike Nelson’s twin grandchildren on Aug. 12 and stole a handful of teddy bears used as table centerpieces at the joyous occasion.
The not-so-cuddly crooks, a man and a woman, managed to get away with at least three bears before Nelson (D–Midwood) and his family intervened.
The councilman was stunned that someone was brazen enough to ruin such an important day for his family.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this happening before,” he said. “It was a very special day because we were announcing the first grandchildren born in my family. I guess we should have had some security assigned as a lookout.”
Several dozen people were invited to a catering hall at Avenue T and E. Eighth Street to attend the bris, or circumcision, for newborns Kody and Sammy.
But Nelson and his family invited one of the thieves to the affair: a woman posing as a beggar, stopped in during the festivities, asking if she could have something to eat.
“She came by and asked for some food so we let her have a few plates,” Nelson said. “That’s what you do at Jewish functions.”
The woman was eating alone when her accomplice came in, pretending to be a catering hall employee.
A few moments later, Nelson’s son-in-law saw the male suspect popping the balloons tied to the teddy bears.
“I guess he thought that carrying the balloons out of the catering hall would have given him away,” Nelson surmised.
But the noise sprung partygoers to life.
“My son-in-law asked him what he was doing and the guy pushed him and ran off with the teddy bears,” Nelson said. “The guy must have been a track star, because by the time we ran down two flights of stairs, he was gone.”
The female suspect also ran out of the building and fled in a different direction.
Nelson and several guests jumped into their cars and drove around looking for the two thieves, but couldn’t find them.
Yet things could have been much worse. Nelson said that one of the thieves entered a secluded room where his grandchildren were sleeping — and where all the bris gifts and cash-filled cards were kept — but an adult watching the babies warded him off.
Police said that they have video footage of the thieving couple and were continuing their search. But if they are ever found and arrested, they will probably just get a slap on the wrist: they’re facing petit larceny charges since they took less than $50 of merchandise.
But this isn’t the first time Nelson has been targeted this summer. A few weeks earlier thieves rooted through his car while it was parked in Manhattan Beach — yet Nelson admits that he was the one to blame.
“I kept going back to get things out of my car and one of those times I forgot to lock it,” he said.