Who stole the ‘O’s from the cookie shop?

Letters from the Insomnia Cookies sign are missing at 502 E. John St. in Champaign on Sept. 6, making the sign state Inso ckies. Erica Magda

Letters from the Insomnia Cookies sign are missing at 502 E. John St. in Champaign on Sept. 6, making the sign state “Inso ckies.” Erica Magda

By Angelina Cole

An unidentified individual stole the ‘M’ from the Insomnia Cookies lettering, 502 E. John St., on Aug. 22. The next day, another letter was missing. There was a two-day break in the chain of theft, then four more letters disappeared thereafter.

Joe Essenfeld, chief officer of operations for Insomnia Cookies is offering a 100-cookie reward to anyone with information regarding the perpetrator.

“This is thousands of dollars in damage,” Essenfeld said. “The letters are custom-made.”

The University campus branch of the late-night cookie company is in the process of remodeling its store. Employees said that the renovation will make it more hospitable to customers waiting for their hot, fresh cookies. It was not obvious that the store was a victim of retail theft.

“(The offender) would have had to steal these letters between the hours of 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. without being noticed,” Essenfeld said. Essenfeld added that in order to remove one of the letters, the perpetrator would have had to be standing on a ladder to reach up and rip them off the wall.

Insomnia Cookies requested that local police conduct extra patrols to ensure the safety of its sign. Essenfeld said that the nights these extra patrols were done, the letters remained safety attached to the wall of the building.

“I don’t know if this is an inside job or what,” Essenfeld said.

Jeff Christensen, assistant chief of University police, said that under such circumstances, police take a theft report and depending on the value of the sign and what kind of suspect information they had, may investigate further.

“With this information we prioritize our investigative efforts so that they have the greatest effect,” he said.

Diana Christopher, an Insomnia Cookie employee, is surprised that no one has been reprimanded for this crime yet. Christopher said that security cameras would greatly help keep the theft of the letters to a minimum.

Fortunately, security cameras outside the business are part of the remodeling plans in addition to more tables and stools for waiting customers.

In the meantime, Insomnia Cookies has its own strategy to remedy the repeated theft.

Essenfeld said part of the renovations to Insomnia Cookies will be a new sign on a steel track. The sign is anticipated to be replaced completely within the next week or two.

“It would take someone with power tools to get those letters off,” Essenfeld said. “We’re not backing down.”