His haul included a $395 wheel of cheese.

By Tim Nelson
February 11, 2020

Be honest: at some point in your life, you’ve daydreamed about what it would be like to have unlimited, unfettered access to a grocery store.

While I’d be willing to bet that pretty much nobody reading this has made that daydream a reality, it would seem that one mysterious man briefly lived (or at least seemed to live) out this fantasy, making off with thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise after a weeks-long spree.

It all started on Christmas Day at the Haggen Northwest Fresh Market in Auburn, Washington. Police responded to reports of a potential burglary at the grocery store, finding rope, clothing, and other tools which led them to believe someone climbed into the grocery store through the roof and then escaped in similar fashion.

In truth, that was only the beginning. Over the first weeks of the new year, employees claimed they heard someone walking in the vents above them, with one swearing they saw someone’s legs hanging down from the ceiling of a storage closet. That prompted local cops to return, but not even their K-9 units or heat mapping technology could find traces of any intruders over the course of a three day stakeout.

Though even an exploration of the rafters yielded no breakthrough, a tip from someone on the outside ultimately did. After security footage showed the slippery thief stealing thousands of dollars of cigarettes, police received a tip leading them to execute a search warrant at the home of the suspect, who allegedly used his background as a roofer to surreptitiously slip in and out of the store.

According to King5 News police found upwards of $8,000 worth of Haggen Northwest Fresh Market merchandise, including liquor, cigarettes, and a $395 wheel of artisanal cheese weighing 17 pounds. His romps in the rafters also did about $13,000 worth of damage to the store.

The suspect, who has not yet been formally charged, is likely to face multiple counts of burglary and theft. While his actions are ultimately criminal in the eyes of the law (for better or worse), I think he deserves at least a little bit of credit for evading detection for that long. Just, uh, don’t try this at your local grocery store.

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