Redmond police are searching for a trio of teens suspected in a string of thefts using the same M.O. at local businesses.
“They came in, the two smaller ones went that way, but the oldest one asked about a book, and I brought him in here,” explained Anne St. Germain.
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St. Germain, who has owned McDonald's Book Exchange for the last 20 years, wasn't expecting the plot to take a dark turn.
“It was one of those awful days, snowy and nobody around of course,” she added.
After she helped the teen, he asked to use the restroom, but instead just left the shop.
Then she noticed the other two boys were nowhere to be seen and her purse had been moved.
“In the 30 seconds that they were in here, they found it, took my wallet, took my other little card case and disappeared in no time flat,” St. Germain explained.
Redmond police say that same day, Feb. 6, the same trio of thieves stole cash from an employee's bag at John L Scott Real Estate and also hit up Discovery Yoga.
In each case, the M.O. was the same. They would distract an employee while one would steal out of a purse near or under the front counter.
“They told her they were interested in yoga,” Tracy Coons, owner of Discovery Yoga said.
Coons explained as the instructor was distracted and showing them around, one of them stayed behind. They asked to use the restroom, and as soon as they left, she realized she'd been had.
“It's a yoga studio. We sort of operate on this idea of loving, kindness and trusting everyone,” Coons said.
The space has typically relied on karma, but Coons has now installed a camera to help nudge fate.
Fortunately for Coons’ employee, the only items stolen were her checkbook and a key to the studio, which meant the locks had to be replaced.
“It kind of feels like yucky energy in the studio,” Coons said.
In St. Germain's case, the thieves immediately went to Fred Meyer, just a mile away, and racked up $2,000 worth of gift cards using her stolen credit cards.
“The aggravation of it all,” St. Germain said.
Though it's been a headache, most of what was stolen was replaceable.
“My long-deceased husband's driver's license, which I treasure, was one of the things that went,” St. Germain added.
Whether it's karma or justice, St. Germain does believe the next chapter is coming.
“For kids that age to be doing that kind of thing, you know sooner or later, they will get caught. And sooner or later, they'll have their lives messed up,” St. Germain said.
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