ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – Some Alaskan Costco shoppers have said they had their groceries stolen by crows in the store’s parking lot.
Matt Lewallen said he was packing his groceries in his car in the parking lot of an Anchorage Costco when crows barged in to steal a short rib from his cart, the Anchorage Daily News reported on Friday.
“I literally took 10 steps and turned around, two crows came down and instantly grabbed one out of the pack, ripped it off and flew with it,” Lewallen said.
Lewallen said the piece of meat was about 10 by 18 centimeters (4 by 7 inches) – an important meal for a large bird.
“They know what they’re doing; it’s not the first time, ”said Lewallen. “They’re really big, so I think they’ve got a whole system there. ”
And when he got home he noticed that one of the crows had taken a hit on another rib but hadn’t stolen it.
“I cut this meat and started marinating it and my wife said, ‘It’s disgusting, we should take it back,” Lewallen said. “Costco took it back even after we started pickling them and gave us a full refund.”
Other sightings of raven thieves have emerged on social media.
“My parents were minding their business after a store and went home with one steak missing!” Kimberly Waller wrote on Facebook. “The bird snatched it from the bundle in the parking lot.”
Tamara Josey, an Anchorage resident, responded to Waller’s message and called the crows “calculators.” She said the crows had hovered her in an attempt to steal her supplies.
“I had two crows, one that was on the car next to me and he kept screaming really loud,” said Josey. “He would sit in the car and look at me, then jump up next to the bed of the truck on the other side, and keep going back and forth. The other crow was on the ground. He kept trying to pull – I had those little mini melons that you have in the mesh bags – he kept trying to grab the net and get my melons out of the cart.
A crow began to fly in a circle around Josey until she made them go wild.
“He was waiting for another opportunity to retrieve the melons from the cart, but they were never deterred,” she said. “They just stayed in the line, waiting for their next opportunity to steal something from my basket.”
“They are very dedicated to their mission,” she added.
A manager at an Anchorage Costco declined to comment on the Raven Thieves newspaper.
The Anchorage Audubon Society counts the crows population every December. The group reported 923 common crows in 2018, 621 in 2019 and 750 birds in 2020.
Rick Sinnott, a former wildlife biologist at the State Department of Fisheries and Game, said hundreds of crows flew to Anchorage in the winter for food. After winter turns to spring, most crows leave, Sinnott said.
But before that, the crows stay to pick an assortment of meats, fruits and vegetables.
“For years, decades, they’ve been watching people in the parking lots of grocery stores with all this food,” Sinnott said. “They know what fruit looks like in a grocery cart because they’ve seen it on the floor or seen in a garbage can.”
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