‘To the man who has been taking my Wall Street Journal’

Richard note to WSJ thief

Photo: Marty Schiffenbauer

Late last year Berkeleyside published a story on “Berkeley signs” — the notes, sometimes handwritten, which Berkeley residents are apt to post asking fellow residents, often most politely, to do something — or, more likely, to stop doing something.

As the writer of the story pointed out, here in Berkeley, when we scold our neighbors, we add a little extra flourish.

Reader Marty Schiffenbauer shared the photograph above which he took a few days ago. The notice was posted in front of Skylight & Sun at 2019 Blake St. As Schiffenbauer puts it: “Definitely very Berkeley!”

[Editor’s Note: Don’t miss Berkeleyside’s exclusive update on the story.]

A Berkeley note to Wall Street Journal thief gets results (03.19.15)
Berkeleyans ask a lot but they nearly always say please (12.31.14)

Berkeleyside publishes many articles every day. To see all our stories in chronological order, and read ones you may have missed, check out All the News.

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  • Brilliant.

  • Chris J

    I truly appreciate these notes, for their Spartan wit and at times their ridiculous aspect. I always enjoy the ‘note bombs’ or ‘yarn bombs’ that are left in public places for commentary about whatever.

    Great stuff. Thanks BSide.

  • .

    Well played!

  • guest in the west

    Is Marty confessing in a roundabout way or does he have his own subscriptions to the WSJ for its editorial content or otherwise?

  • Peter Moore

    Ours got stolen this morning in South Berkeley. I may try this.

  • Rebcca Taggart


  • M.E. Lawrence

    So do such signs have a high B.Q. (as in Berkeley Quirk)?

  • Annie Painter

    One of those yellow City of Berkeley Notice of Public Meeting posters was amended some years ago in our ‘hood with a hand-scrawled note saying “we will meet to discuss the problems of consumer capitalism”.

  • BerkeleyCitizen

    I had a similar experience many years ago in another city (in that case the New York Times). We never identified the thief, but did try many times unsuccessfully to catch them in the act, even setting up a video camera (not digital, cheap and ubiquitous as they are today). I can so relate to this note–I love it!

  • Rose N

    I called someone out on their bad behavior once. A woman in my neighborhood never ever picked up after her dog. And this was a big dog! I caught her in the act…snapped a good pic on my phone and went home and printed up some flyers with that picture.Posted it along her route of choice. It said simply..”This is your neighbor. She leaves her dogs poop on your lawn and sidewalks. Next time you see her be sure to thank her!
    I very rarely saw it happen again. Some people need to be put in their place.

  • Jonathan King

    People in South Berkeley have no business reading the WSJ anyway, unless it’s aspirational.

  • Cammy

    That reminds me of a Curb Your Enthusiasm Episode – I think it was “the Seder” when a guest took Larry David’s NY Times…then on “Better Call Saul” Saul’s brother leaves 5 dollars under a rock when he takes his neighbor’s paper…

  • No it’s for opposition research.

  • sunshipballoons


  • Peter Moore

    I don’t think of them as South Berkeley residents. They’re techies on their way to BART, who think they live in the “Lorin District”

  • Ray Minjares

    I was in exactly the same situation in 2005 when I lived on the corner of Hearst and California St. I started leaving the previous edition Of the WSJ on the steps leading up to my apartment as well as post-it notes inside the paper with messages to my thief. A friend later suggested that I leave flour inside the paper that would leave a trail along the path of the thief. After waking up earlier one morning to witness my delivery, waited for the newspaper robbery only to discover the thief was one of my neighbors. He had been stealing my paper for months!!

  • Bill

    I caught a guy stealing my Financial Times daily by recording our door camera each morning. Once I had the evidence, I met him the next morning and made him pay my subsciption.

    This victim was too nice – but he’s right on about the WSJ’s ultra-right editorials!

  • oofta

    Bearded hipsters with macbooks hidden in retro backpacks..

  • guest

    Don’t forget to set it on fire first !

  • disqus_S1ql48Vi9i

    The only way to stop those people for good is to wake up 2 hours early, stuff a decoy paper with the most disgusting detritus you can scrounge up out of your bathroom trash can, and carefully place the bag in your driveway. Trust me. It works.

  • disqus_S1ql48Vi9i

    flour! awesome!

  • disqus_S1ql48Vi9i

    If you are a female and you happen to have some unmentionable stuff in your trash can, use that. If you have the stomach for it.

  • disqus_S1ql48Vi9i

    No, they are all over PASSIVEAGGRESSIVENOTES.COM

  • disqus_S1ql48Vi9i

    It is only brilliant if it works.