I want my shoes back! (NYC petty theft?)
January 11, 2017 12:08 PM   Subscribe

The other day, I had a pair of sneakers stolen from the hallway right outside my apartment (my roommate and I usually have several pairs outside, and have never had any stolen in all the time we've been living there). The landlord was able to provide surveillance footage, and found out it was a GrubHub delivery person (who brought food to an apartment on a higher floor) at 4:20 in the morning.

Pictures here:



How should I approach the situation now that I have this information? Do I find out what restaurant he delivered from and contact them? Do I get the police involved in an instance petty theft? Advice appreciated; thanks!
posted by matticulate to Law & Government (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, contact GrubHub and the restaurant and ask for return of shoes or compensation.
posted by goggie at 12:13 PM on January 11, 2017 [21 favorites]

Does your building have a locked door? If so, it would seem that the tenant who buzzed the delivery person in has some responsibility for that person's actions while in the building. The least they can do is give you details about their order.

The restaurant should certainly be notified, and Grubhub, at the very least so that this thief isn't dispatched on other deliveries, but as this person was acting as their agent it's not unreasonable to ask them to compensate you for your loss.

The police, unfortunately, are very unlikely to do anything, even with security footage showing the theft. Don't get your hopes up, but perhaps it is worth a try.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:16 PM on January 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

The NYPD will have you do all your own leg work anyway (you remember the 'they got us working in shifts!' scene from the Big Lebowski right?) so you may as well see how far you can get with the restaurant. Either you'll get your shoes back or the delivery guy will never show up to work again after his boss tells him to bring your shoes back. In which case, police or not, you're probably not seeing those specific shoes again.
posted by griphus at 12:21 PM on January 11, 2017

Contact GrubHub for the name and contact information of the delivery person. It is possible that GrubHub will say their delivery persons are independent contractors and they're not their employers. You can try escalating with GrubHub or making a police report/filing a small claims against the delivery person with the contact information.
posted by kinoeye at 12:23 PM on January 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, while it is unlikely that you would choose a policy with a deductible low enough to help you in this circumstance, this should be a solid reminder that renter's insurance is pretty cheap and very worth it.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:25 PM on January 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

In my experience, GrubHub's customer service has been pretty good with things. I've never had any kind of situation like this, but GH customer service would be my first stop for help. They have a live chat option that routes to actual people in Chicago, which is great if you are a person who prefers live chat as your customer service option (I do). Let GrubHub talk to the restaurant, let GrubHub make the calls. You shouldn't have to do the legwork yourself.
posted by phunniemee at 12:32 PM on January 11, 2017 [20 favorites]

[Couple comments deleted. Folks, OP is just asking for practical suggestions how to proceed to get the shoes back; please skip the more expansive "here's how you should feel about this" related stuff.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:00 PM on January 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

GrubHub customer service first. This is the sort of thing that would go viral pretty easily, so if they're not helpful, talk to Buzzfeed or whoever.
posted by Slinga at 1:24 PM on January 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

I would discourage you from trying to get the contact info of the delivery person and liaise with them that way. It seems very unlikely to work and could be risky. Grubhub (or police) seems like the best way to go here.
posted by delight at 2:31 PM on January 11, 2017 [4 favorites]

AFAIK, Grubhub doesn't actually have their own delivery staff--Grubhub is just a way for restaurants to accept online orders without having to set up the infrastructure themselves. So it's about a 99% chance that this person works for whatever restaurant your neighbor ordered from.

That's not to say that you shouldn't contact Grubhub, but they have less power here than you may think.
posted by Automocar at 5:44 PM on January 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh, and I forgot to mention: how do you know this person was specifically dispatched via Grubhub? Did you talk to your neighbor?
posted by Automocar at 5:46 PM on January 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'd politely point out to GrubHub that it's their reputation on the line, and this sort of thing might make people look very unkindly on using their service in the future.
posted by disconnect at 6:33 AM on January 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

That's not to say that you shouldn't contact Grubhub, but they have less power here than you may think.

I imagine they have the power to cancel their contract with the restaurant, which would give them a lot of leverage.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:00 AM on January 12, 2017

Hey all, thanks for the advice.

Just an update on the situation:

I called GrubHub detailing the incident, but the customer service rep told me that she was unable to do anything without the order #. I asked my landlord if the tenant who placed the order could send me this info so I could follow up / provide it in a police report.

It turns out that my neighbor actually lodged an online complaint with GrubHub regarding the delivery guy/thief.

Apparently, the delivery guy was 20 minutes late and acted very skittishly. He also tried to scam my neighbor, telling him his payment didn't go through and asked him to pay him in cash. The tenant called him out on it, telling him the app showed otherwise, and received a nervous response ("oh uh just contact GrubHub or whoever"). After this exchange, the delivery person came down to my floor, grabbed my sneakers, and left the building.

GrubHub Care simply emailed my neighbor a free Grub Code for a $10 meal.

Upset with the curt response, my neighbor followed up with GrubHub and reiterated the details he sent to their Twitter team. A representative got back to him, apologizing for the incident, and clarified that the delivery driver worked directly for the restaurant and was in no way affiliated with GrubHub. The rep also spoke with the restaurant owner. The owner knows who the driver was, and left his phone number with us. He asked for us to call him to handle the issue. According to the rep, the owner said they are on our side and want to help in any way.

My neighbor mentioned that the owner also stopped by the apartment building and spoke with him over the intercom. The owner said he takes full responsibility for this and is very willing to replace the stolen shoes. He wants to be as cooperative as possible and remarked that this was a very unfortunate situation regarding his employee (I don't know if they fired him or not).

I appreciate the amount of legwork that my neighbor and landlord have taken care of (work that I thought I would have to do myself).

Now that the ball is in my court, should I contact the restaurant owner at the phone number they provided? Ask for a check they could leave at the landlord's office or in my mailbox? What should I do to make sure I am fairly compensated for the theft?
posted by matticulate at 1:43 PM on January 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

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