Police say man known for shoplifting at Amazon warehouse charged in robberies

Boxes move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon fulfillment center on January 20, 2015 in Tracy, California.

SEATTLE — A man has been charged with two counts of robbery after repeatedly targeting an Amazon Fulfillment Center in Seattle, the King County Prosecutor's Office said.

Prosecutors describe Devon Woodward, 26, as a "prolific shoplifter" at an Amazon Fulfillment Center, but said in the two robbery cases there where he was charged, he used violence or threats to get away with stolen merchandise.

On July 19, police say Woodward began yelling obscenities at an employee when he was stopped after he entered the Amazon Fulfillment Center on Aurora Avenue North, took six Amazon Kindles and put them in his backpack.

Woodward then grabbed an employee's cellphone to stop him from recording the incident, police said.

Employees tried to stop Woodward by leaving with the stolen goods by blocking his way, and during the tussle, a large butcher knife fell to the ground, which an employee grabbed to keep it from Woodward, documents said.  Police said Woodward then elbowed an employee as he left the warehouse with the Kindles.

On Aug. 29 at about 2:15 p.m., a suspect later identified as Woodward entered the same Amazon warehouse, grabbed two Kindles and a pair of headphones and put them in his backpack, according to charging documents.

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Police said when an employee tried to grab Woodward's backpack, Woodward took a fighting stance.  Because the employee recognized Woodward and knew he had been armed before, he backed down but followed him, so he could direct police to his last known location, court documents said.  Woodward was arrested shortly after.

Charging documents said in addition to the two incidents, a record check of Woodward showed he was also arrested at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at 808 Howell Street in Seattle.

Prosecutors said that during the incident, Woodward brandished a large butcher knife at the security guard who had found him in a bathroom charging multiple electronic devices.

Officers found Woodward crouched behind a dumpster and arrested him. Police said the butcher knife was recovered and three Amazon Kindles were found in his backpack.

Court records show that Woodward also punched a police officer who was guarding him while at Harborview Medical Center.

Records show Woodward has five convictions in the Seattle area since May 2019, plus two felony convictions in North Carolina and a number of misdemeanor convictions in Seattle and elsewhere.