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Lacey warehouse worker accused of stealing up to $12,000 worth of goods to sell online

Lacey police arrested a 38-year-old warehouse worker last week for allegedly stealing up to $12,000 in merchandise to sell online.

A manager at Harbor Wholesale on Hogum Bay Road reported the employee to dispatch on June 1. Police investigated and arrested the worker later that day on suspicion of first-degree organized retail theft and trafficking in stolen property. He was booked into Thurston County jail.

The worker allegedly admitted to the crimes when questioned by police, according to court documents. He reportedly said he started stealing to support himself amid hard times and medical issues.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge John Skinder ordered the worker to be conditionally released without bail the next day. Prosecutors charged the worker with the alleged crimes on Monday, June 5.

The worker has no prior criminal history, according to court records. His arraignment hearing has been scheduled for June 13.

Lacey police posted about the investigation on social media Tuesday. The post indicated the worker had been selling the stolen merchandise on eBay. A search of his car reportedly uncovered over $1,000 in merchandise ready to be shipped.

Police also searched his home where they uncovered another $6,800 worth of merchandise, according to the post. In all, almost $8,000 worth of goods were returned to the business. An image of the haul shows many boxes of canned and dry foods, candy, lighters, energy drinks and more.

A statement of probable cause describes the initial investigation into the alleged crimes from the perspective of law enforcement.

The manager told a responding officer that he had found two 50-count packs of lighters in the worker’s locker, according to the court document. He said the business had been experiencing a lot of theft over the last several months.

An employee who tracks inventory also showed the officer an eBay account that seemingly sold related warehouse merchandise in the Olympia area.

The about section of the suspected account stated the seller operates a “small business” out of their home that sold products from a warehouse they worked at. The account page indicated it has sold about 1,400 items and had a 99.6% positive feedback.

During the investigation, a supervisor allegedly observed the worker moving the packs of lighters from his locker to his car. The officer inspected the car and saw multiple boxes in plain view with shipping labels destined for multiple addresses in Washington and other states.

The supervisor told the officer the worker had been on light duty for several months after suffering an injury, according to the statement. During that time, the worker was reportedly assigned to cleaning tasks in areas of the warehouse where the thefts allegedly occurred.

A detective arrived at the scene to assist the officer. They both went to speak with the worker while he sat in a break room.

The worker allegedly admitted to the ruse after being pressed about the items in his car and the eBay account, the statement says. He reportedly explained he had fallen on hard times due to his injury, the death of his mother and issues with his brother.