A Newport Beach yoga studio claims former NBA star Dennis Rodman entered the business twice in two days this week and helped other people, including a former employee of the studio, steal more than $3,500 in merchandise, including a 400-pound amethyst crystal.
Ali Shah, who with his wife, Ariana, owns Vibes Hot Yoga at 100 W. Coast Highway, said he watched the events unfold on live security video.
Shah said a man whom he identified as Rodman walked into the shop with a former Vibes employee and another man and woman just before the shop was scheduled to close at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“It’s clear as daylight,” Shah said of the security footage.
Vibes claimed the four worked in coordination to distract an employee so they could steal clothes from displays.
Rodman told TMZ on Thursday he and his companions didn’t steal from the studio. “They gave us the clothes,” Rodman said.
In a separate interview, he told KCBS-TV Channel 2 that he was told, “Dennis, get anything you want.”
“I said, ‘OK, great,’ ” Rodman said.
The Newport Beach Police Department said an investigation of the incident was ongoing. No one has been arrested.
Shah said the former Vibes employee had met Rodman through her work as an Uber driver.
The employee who was on duty at the time told the Daily Pilot on Friday that the four told her the “ginormous geode amethyst crystal” that was for sale for $2,500 belonged to one of them and they were there to retrieve it.
“They gave me false information,” she said.
Rodman “asked me to show him the studio,” the employee said, which led her away from the front desk for about a minute. Rodman had never visited the studio before, according to Vibes.
Meanwhile, Shah said, one of the women was stuffing merchandise into her purse and even took items into the restroom to remove hangers.
The other man in the group tried to move the massive geode onto a hand truck and dropped it, causing it to shatter, the employee said.
The group gathered up and carted away the pieces, leaving behind dust and glass-like shards as well as about $5,000 worth of damage to the floor, Vibes said.
The four were in the shop for about 20 minutes. Shah, who was watching the live video offsite, contacted the employee and police.
Officers arrived about 10 minutes after the group departed and took a report of the incident, Vibes said. Police denied requests from the Daily Pilot to see the report.
On Wednesday, a different employee arrived to open the studio at 4:30 p.m. for afternoon and evening yoga classes and found two people outside.
Shah said surveillance video showed Rodman, whom the employee didn’t recognize, again trying to distract the employee while a woman, whom Shah said also was there the day before, grabbed three or four articles of merchandise, hangers and all. The two were in the studio for about 10 minutes, Shah said.
According to Shah, the employees said the pair smelled of alcohol on both occasions. “It was sloppy,” Shah said.
The merchandise stolen in the two incidents included a pair of $359 leggings and a $300 top, Shah said, plus other items priced at $100 to $118 from upscale brands such as Spiritual Gangster and Lululemon.
Despite the incident, Shah said he wasn’t considering changing how the business operated.
“This is a weird, freak situation,” he said.
Sclafani writes for the Times Community News