Renton police partner with retailers to crack down on theft

A sting operation has nabbed more than a half dozen people in Renton. Renton police collaborated with Target and Ulta at the Landing shopping center about two weeks ago.

The manager at Ulta, Nikki Allen, said theft has been an ongoing problem at her store.

“I would say this right here is a prime target Eve Saint Laron, Caroline Herrera, very popular,” she said. “All of our dry bar stuff gets hit up a lot too, like the hair straightener.” Together, Ulta and RPD came up with a plan to catch thieves in the act.

“We kind of had them on a walkie. We had them being (surveilled) from the cameras, and our LP person ... would call them and be like, ‘Hey, this person just left with this, taking stuff,’ and we’d catch them on the outside,” Allen said. Seven people were arrested.

“To like have a day where we had their full attention to get everyone captured that we could was nice,” she said. Allen said it was a relief to catch some of their frequent crooks.

“Those people, they don’t care. They’re very aware that we’re very limited with what we can do to try to stop them,” she said. “They’ll just boldly come in, grab armloads of stuff and run out.” It’s not only frustrating for employees but for customers too.

“It just makes a consumer like me upset because I’m the one who spends money,” customer Carolyn Walker said. Allen said criminals are getting bolder too.

“These people came in they stole an armful each of hair straighteners and then they took my whole box of testers that I was trying to put out too,” she said. Detective Robert Onishi said items selling for more than $100 are magnets for thieves.

“Smaller items that are worth high dollar value and have a high resale value. Those are the kind of things that get taken most frequently in this kind of matter,” he said.

Allen said she hopes this deters thieves and hopes they can work with RPD again.