Longtime downtown business owner Dixie Brewer wonders when it's all going to end.
It's Tuesday afternoon and a man in a blue shirt enters her downtown consignment store, In Your Wildest Dreams. He's brusque, rude to employees who offer assistance, and begins gathering items of clothing, laying them across his arm.
Asked if he needs a dressing room, his answer is a curt "No."
"Are you looking for something special?" employee Rosa Rodriguez inquires.
"No," he says again.
By this time the employees know something is wrong. The atmosphere in the store changes.
The man now has the attention of five employees. Some approach him.
"He doesn't care," Brewer says. "He's prepared to harm someone to get out."
Rodriguez considers locking the front doors, but how will the man react when caged?
In a Facebook post, employee Tanner Boyd writes that the man "was definitely on something."
"I asked him if he’d like a fitting room, trying to get the clothes from him, and he started for that front door where we had an employee standing right in front. This guy didn’t care, he blew right past all of us."
The man, dressed in clean clothes and shoes, didn't appear to be homeless. Employees said his behavior suggested a "You can't touch me" demeanor.
Brewer says she wonders how long any business can stay in business with this "rampant out of control behavior."
"It's taking the wind out of my sails," she says
She praises local police for their efforts, even while acknowledging they can't do much more than they're already doing.
"I don't call the police anymore for this petty stuff," she says.
But just three weeks ago, two men and a woman arrived, the men on bicycles, the woman on foot.
Security video shows the woman ducking into the store, and moments later running out carrying something.
"My 61-year-old self chased her on foot all the way to Union Avenue," Brewer said. While running she called police.
"She ditched us and got away," Brewer said.
The store owner communicates with other area merchants on the Facebook group page Downtown Community Watch. That's how she knows she's not alone.
Scroll down and there's video of a woman apparently trying to knock over a temporary road construction sign.
Scroll again to find a photo of two newly planted blooming Crepe Myrtle shrubs and Asparagus Ferns destroyed by vandals.
Farther down page? A photo of large pile of trash dumped at the doorstep of Blue Oak Coffee Roasting, a locally owned business that has seen more than its share.
"This was here waiting for us this morning," the post read. "Great way to start the day. Hope everyone has a wonderful day."
Brewer says local merchants are not getting the political support they desperately need. The police officers she speaks with are just as frustrated.
But there may be some relief in sight. The passage of Measure N last November, which raised the city sales tax from 7.25 percent to 8.25 percent, will pump an estimated $58 million in new funding into city coffers.
As a result, the Bakersfield Police Department expects to hire 100 officers over the next three years.
Most of those new uniforms have yet to hit the streets, but Brewer and other area business people hope it makes a difference when they do.
"At what point is there going to be a change that can help us?" she asks.