Law enforcement: Retail theft is a Washington statewide problem


Theft is a statewide problem and it is driving statewide change.

COVINGTON, Wash. – Covington police estimate that area stores are losing thousands of dollars every day in retail theft. It’s a department looking to tackle this crime as a new statewide Retail Organized Crime Task Force is set to begin.

On June 30, two Covington police officers parked outside the city’s Fred Meyer to arrest the robbers. Five people were arrested and charged, two of these people were imprisoned. The department estimated that that afternoon, officers stopped the thieves from taking more than $3,000 worth of merchandise.

“A lot of them will just load a cart and get out right away and it’s $400 to $500,” Covington Police Chief Adam Easterbrook said, “We just don’t want to be an inviting community. to crime.”

Easterbrook acknowledges that even with the department’s efforts, theft is still a problem at Covington.

“You’re looking at a community where $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 gets stolen pretty regularly,” Easterbrook said.

However, theft is a statewide problem and it is driving statewide changes.

On the same day Covington officers were conducting burglary patrols, Bellevue police arrested a 43-year-old resident charged with stealing more than $4,000 worth of merchandise. Bellevue police say the arrest came just days after the state announced the creation of a Retail Organized Crime Task Force.

“I have found in my experience, working with other task forces and other settings, that sharing information helps law enforcement, helps with prevention, raises the profile of the problem and bring people into the room to make sure we prosecute the wrong guys, hold them accountable, and provide the resources we need to help retailers and small businesses facing these challenges,” the prosecutor said. General of the State, Bob Ferguson.

“A widespread task force, I think that’s a great idea. I think that can really have an impact,” Easterbrook said.

The working group will meet for the first time this week.


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