The lieutenant was working as a security guard at Home Depot at the time. He is accused of stealing over $1,000 of his merchandise.
Snohomish County, Washington — A now former Snohomish County legislator was charged with organized retail theft last summer after allegedly robbing a home depot south of Everett for weeks.
At the time, 46-year-old Jeremy Zeller of Lake Stephens had a side job as a store security guard.
He is accused of collecting various items from around the store, placing them in front of the store and telling co-workers that he would pay before leaving the store.
Surveillance video showed him leaving the store without doing so “eight times,” prosecutors said.
When fellow lawmakers were called in to watch the video, Zeller was quickly admitted, according to court documents.
According to state law, the total cost of the goods is about $1,000, making it a class B felony.
“Anything over $750 is now considered stolen 2. These days, given the price of things, it doesn’t take long to reach that threshold,” said Det. . Brad Reorda investigating a retail theft with the Lynnwood Police Department.
When people think of organized retail theft, they often think of groups of people who steal large quantities of goods and sell them online or on the black market abroad.
“It’s bigger than the addicts. Bigger than the homeless population,” Reorda said. “That’s what they do. It’s how they make a living.”
Lynnwood has arrested at least 22 thieves since October.
According to court documents, Mr. Zeller “expressed confusion” about being charged with felony organized retail larceny because he “never received more than $750 at one time.”
But det. Reorda says that’s not how it works.
“It might hit a particular retailer every Wednesday. If we could show that pattern and calculate the total number of days, we could use that value to claim theft.”
Reorda stresses that you don’t have to be part of an organized ring to be considered organized crime.
“That’s the message we want to convey,” he says. “We are taking this seriously and I think it will reduce the trend of theft.”