Balboa Peninsula Point pet owners are on the lookout for someone who may be stealing the bags they use in small local parks to pick up dog droppings.
A neatly written self-sticking note posted on the “dog nuisance” bag dispenser at the tiny triangular park bounded by Plaza del Norte, Plaza del Sur and L Street reads: “Someone is stealing the dog baggies . . . 25 & 50 at a time. Please call the association if you see anyone taking the whole bunch.”
Virginia Herberts, who stocks the bags at nearby West Jetty Park, said she has noticed the same problem and thinks visitors, not residents, are the culprits.
“I can put 60 [bags] out, and they’re gone in 24 hours,” she said. “I have the feeling that someone is taking them at night. They’ll still be there in the evening, but then they’re all gone in the morning. We wouldn’t be so upset if we were sure they were being used for the purpose they’re intended for.”
There is no estimated loss for the missing bags, which sell for $3.50 to $10 per pack of 35 in pet stores. Homeowners associations and other sponsors buy the bags and provide them free to pet owners in parks.
A few isolated bag thefts were reported two years ago when the city installed 10 dispensers on the peninsula, Balboa Island and Lido Island, but vanishing bags have not been a problem since, said Newport Beach General Services Director Dave Niederhaus.
“It’s probably vandalism. I don’t know what people would use them for,” he said. “Anything like that, that can be tampered with, usually is.”
Chris Crosson, inventor and manufacturer of the 7-by-14-inch, baby powder-scented plastic Doggie Walk Bags, said he had not heard of the bag thefts.
“We monitor how many bags we put in, just to alleviate that [theft] problem. When we put 100 bags in for the weekend, they generally last until Monday morning,” said Crosson, who is paid by Balboa Island homeowners to stock eight dispensers three times a week.
Crosson said the bags could be vanishing because of higher-than-expected demand from dog owners, something he has noticed on Balboa Island.
“What happened on Balboa Island was that they couldn’t believe they were going through bags so quickly,” he said. “They go through about 4,000 scoops a month. There are a lot of dogs.”