East Bay Home Depot sees rise in shoplifting incidents

Bay Area

HERCULES, Calif. (KRON) — In the East Bay, a big box hardware store is being targeted by shoplifters. Investigators say in some cases thieves load up shopping carts with tools a walk right out the door.

A Home Depot in Hercules is the latest retailer experiencing a rash of shoplifting incidents in the Bay Area.

“We’ve had three thefts reported to us just in the last couple of weeks and about 15 thefts since the first of the year,” Hercules Police Spokesperson Connie Van Putten said.

Investigators are cross-referencing with Bay Area law enforcement for possible suspects and connections to similar crimes.

“We do get some repeat offenders and we do get some flyers from other jurisdictions and sometimes we’ll recognize that person as someone we have dealt with but it is very wide-ranged,” Van Putten said. “They often move around.”

“Different things are happening particularly at Home Depot. Sometimes they steal the item directly,” Van Putten said. “Put it under a coat. Put it in a cart and just walk out with it. The other day these young men loaded up a cart and went out an emergency exit.”

Hercules police officials say due to staffing levels it is not feasible to dedicate an officer to patrol the parking lot for prolonged periods of time. 

“We have the whole city cover but as I said, the officers make numerous security checks there in the day and the night,” Van Putten said. “Earlier in the year we helped Home Depot capture a couple of thieves who had been robbing or burglarizing home depots all over the state of California with a large recovery amount in that case.”

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