Yeah it just means in the stores and stuff. For instance, it'll say "steal" from register, instead of "search". Everything you search is fair game, but if you steal from a npc they'll get pissed, and you'll have to put a sky hook through their face.
Yes just make your way towards the gondola. You pull a lever there and you figure out you have to go somewhere else first. The Gunship PA comes on and says that the "false shepherd is loose on the streets." Then the civilians clear out so you then can go back and take the heater replica along with looting the cash registers.