A 37-year-old South Kitsap woman was arrested last week after allegedly stealing merchandise and purses from dozens of stores and other victims in the area, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office reported.
The incident began Feb. 1 when a deputy responded to the Fred Meyer department store in East Bremerton after an employee called to report having an uncooperative shoplifter in custody.
When the deputy arrived, two loss-prevention employees explained that the suspect was b eing detained for leaving the store with a shopping cart full of items, only some of which she had reportedly paid for.
After the deputy placed the woman under arrest, she gave permission to search her vehicle.
Inside the suspect’s car, the deputy notes, was a “surprising” amount of stuff, including “bags and boxes covering every seat in the car except for the driver’s seat.”
The deputy noted that the suspect told her that everything in the car had been purchased, and she had receipts.
The deputy searched the car and located numerous bags of brand-new items “all with the tags still on them,” and that had been “stuffed inside used, wrinkled, plastic shopping bags.”
She also notes that the store names on the bags did not match the names on the tags, either.
After unloading all of the new items from the suspect’s car, the deputy filled three shopping carts with them.
Inside the trunk, the deputy located more items, including “approximately 30 used plastic bags from various stores,” which the suspect told her was for picking up after her dogs.
When asked why she had so many items in her car, the suspect offered several excuses, including that she was taking items to storage because her home was being foreclosed on, and that she had packed for a weekend trip that she never took.
Along with the store merchandise and bags, the deputy located bags containing suspected drug paraphernalia, suspected methamphetamine, at least 10 “cutting tools,” which the deputy noted are commonly used to removing packing and store security devices.
When questioned further by the deputy, the suspect reportedly said that she was unemployed and had “a shopping problem.”
She went on to admit to stealing the items from Fred Meyer — which totaled more than $1,000 — but said that was the first time she had ever shoplifted.
The deputy then began returning item to local stores, which totaled $1,705.72 and included:
• $16.36 worth of baby clothes to K-Mart,
• $410.84 worth of clothing and toiletries to Target,
• $320.00 worth of clothing and jewelry to J. C. Penney’s,
• $39.98 worth of picture frames and a belt to Kohl’s,
• $395.92 worth of merchandise to Sportsman’s Warehouse, including a watch, three pairs of sunglasses, shoes, hat and tools,
• A $13.99 torch to the Auto Zone Store in Port Orchard,
• $16.47 worth of items to Walgreens in Port Orchard,
• $317.89 worth of items to Office Depot in Port orchard, including a phone, laser pointer, tape, paper, and personal organizers, and,
• $135.80 worth of items to Albertson’s in Port Orchard.
Several boxes of personal paperwork was also located in the suspect’s car, including mail not addressed to the suspect.
She reportedly admitted to the deputy that one of her friends was involved in identity theft.
The suspect was then booked into Kitsap County Jail for theft, second-degree, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Her bail was set at $15,000.