King County prosecutors have filed charges against a 17-year-old boy they say posed as a Safeway employee and tried to talk his way into cash-counting areas of three different stores in Ballard, Roosevelt, and Pinehurst earlier this summer.
Police records say the teen walked into the University Village Safeway on June 17th wearing a Safeway employee nametag, and contacted an employee at the store’s customer service desk.
Court records say the teen claimed he worked at the Loyal Heights Safeway and was “there for a liquor transfer.”
When the female employee told the teen she didn’t know what he was talking about, the boy said the paperwork for the transfer was likely in the store’s “cash office.”
The woman let the teen into the office, and searched around, but was unable to find the totally-made-up paperwork.
The teen told the woman he needed to call his manager, and the woman left the teen alone in the office while he made a phone call.
According to police, surveillance footage from the office shows that as soon as the female employee left the teen alone, he began rifling through drawers, taking $101 in cash.
The teen left the store, telling employees he wasn’t able to reach his manager.
Employees reviewed the security tape, discovered the theft, and contacted Safeway’s loss prevention department.
Seven hours later, the teen walked into the Safeway at 73rd and Roosevelt and entered an employees-only area, before making his was to the customer service desk at the front of the store.
Safeway’s loss prevention department had apparently already warned employees about that teen’s scam, and refused to let him in the store’s office.
The teen then drove up to the Pinehurst Safeway on 123rd and 15th, where he was also turned away.
Shortly after the string of incidents, SPD detectives obtained store surveillance footage, and put out a bulletin with a picture of the teen to officers.
Detective George Davisson wrote in court documents that shortly after he put out his bulletin, he was “flooded with responses” from officers and detectives who recognized the 17-year-old suspect.
Ten days after the teen tried to scam staff at the three Safeways, police say the boy ran out of the Ballard Fred Meyer jewelry department with a $2,350 ring.
Police arrested the teen at his home in the Central District later that night.
Prosecutors have charged the teen with two counts of burglary, one count of attempted burglary, and one count of possession of stolen property.