College Place Police partner with Home Depot to end rampant theft

COLLEGE PLACE, Wash. — In a ten-day span, College Place Police said 21 arrests were made at their local Home Depot.

“We had a couple people who fled on foot on us, a couple that fled in the car one of the individuals that fled on foot had a BB gun – realistic looking BB gun on him, and had warrants out of another jurisdiction,” Patrol Sergeant Dylan Schmick said.

But that’s hardly the beginning of the problem, he added.

“We’re having trouble following up on our end to prosecute people and take them into custody for the theft also in locating the stolen items that we know are out there,” Schmick explained.

It’s a problem, he said, that’s been going on for too long; criminals stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from the College Place Home Depot, then selling it for profit or for drugs.

Schmick said there’s even been exchanges done in the store’s parking lot.

There hasn’t been anyone to stop them; Schmick said this specific store doesn’t have a loss prevention program or specialist.

“Found a place where we needed to make some changes. That’s where we tried to partner with Home Depot, ring a few bells, we got in touch with their retail asset protection team to express our concern and how it’s having an impact not only on College Place but the greater Walla Walla Valley of our entire community,” he said.

Schmick said it’s gotten so bad, people from out of town have gone to their Home Depot to commit thefts.

College Place Police said from April 29th through May 8th, they conducted an emphasis at The Home Depot along with a loss prevention team that came in from out of town.

That’s when those 21 arrests were made.

“Asset protection has that ability to make those calls, to be a good witness, to contact subjects in the store. It’s not hard for one person in one shopping cart to get over 750 at Home Depot which is a felony case — and they’re big cases,” Schmick said they’d like to bring justice and not let cases go on without consequences.

The department hopes to end this uptick in thefts at the store, and prevent the issue from worsening or turning to violence.

“Which is why we try to take a proactive stance, try to get ahead of it. It will make a big impact; you start limiting those financial opportunities. Grateful for Home Depot’s cooperation and looking forward to working with them in the future to, to kind of put an end to this and slow it down, because it’s a priority for us and we want to make it happen,” Schmick said.

KAPP KVEW reached out to The Home Depot, we expect a reply on Monday.

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