Law enforcement: Retail theft a statewide issue in Washington

Theft is a nationwide problem and is causing changes at the nationwide level.

COVINGTON, Wash. — Covington Police Department estimates that businesses in the area lose thousands of dollars to retail theft every day. It’s a department trying to tackle this crime as a new nationwide task force on organized retail crime is set to begin.

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

“A lot of them just load up a truck and just walk out and it’s $400 to $500,” Covington Police Chief Adam Easterbrook said. “We just don’t want to be a welcoming community for crime.”

Easterbrook acknowledges that despite the department’s best efforts, theft is still a problem in Covington.

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

However, theft is a nationwide problem and is leading to changes on a nationwide level.

On the same day officers in Covington were conducting patrols focused on theft, Bellevue police arrested a 43-year-old resident accused of stealing more than $4,000 worth of merchandise. Bellevue Police said the arrest came just days after the state announced a task force on organized retail crime.

“My experience from working with other task forces and other contexts has shown that sharing information helps with enforcement, helps with prevention, raises the profile of the problem, and brings people into the space to make sure we’re around.” take care of the bad guys, hold them accountable and provide the resources we need to help retailers and small businesses who are meeting these challenges,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

“A generalized task force, I think it’s a great idea. I think she can actually make a difference,” Easterbrook said.

The task force will meet for the first time this week. Law enforcement: Retail theft a statewide issue in Washington

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