Article

Vid Shows Cops Waiting for Costco Thieves to Emerge from Fire Exit

The incident originally occurred in Seattle, Washington, on March 15, 2018.

Published Nov 3, 2021

An old video showing police catch thieves as they flee a Costco store is once again gaining prominence. (Seattle Police Department/YouTube)
An old video showing police catch thieves as they flee a Costco store is once again gaining prominence. (Image Via Seattle Police Department/YouTube)

An old video showing police catching thieves fleeing a Costco store is once again gaining prominence thanks to TikTok user @certified.videos. The account specializes in reposting clips "from police body cameras, auditors, and news channels."

It's likely not a common occurrence for thieves to run into law enforcement as soon as they try to escape a store with pricey goods. But that's exactly what happened in Seattle, Washington, on March 15, 2018.

A body camera worn by Seattle police officers captured what they referred to as a thwarted "theft scheme." The culprits tried to steal laptops and other expensive items from Costco and then left through the "fire exit" doors.

In the video, police officers could be seen questioning the purported getaway driver while they put on gloves in the Costco parking lot and prepared for the doors to open. In addition to the getaway driver, two more suspects who flung open the doors were cuffed after dropping stacks of merchandise. "Didn't work this time," one officer told the suspects.

While the video was more than three years old, it was reposted on TikTok on Nov. 2, 2021. It was viewed close to 2 million times in around 24 hours and also received more than 100,000 likes.

So how were the cops ready and on the scene before the thieves fled? On March 16, 2018, KIRO published a story on the attempted robbery, reporting that the suspects were believed to have stolen merchandise from another Costco store earlier in the day.

Loss-prevention officers recognized what was going on inside the Costco store around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and called police.

The suspects were gathering up laptops and other items, preparing to escape out a fire exit. A getaway driver was waiting outside.

Police got in position and waited until the would-be thieves came through the fire doors.

Police arrested the 30-year-old man and 21-year-old woman. The 18-year-old getaway driver was also arrested.

Investigators believe they hit a different Costco earlier the same day-- -stealing more than $2,000 worth of electronics.

The reporting from KIRO's Alison Grande also mentioned that officers found a knife with a "7-inch blade" in one of the suspect's pockets.

Other than the TikTok video, another aspect of the attempted Costco robbery that gave some recency to the story was the fact that the Seattle Police Department posted a video to its YouTube channel in August 2021. It showed two angles of the incident.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWF4VtZVz24
 
As of November, the YouTube video was closing in on 1 million views.

Sources

“Caught on Camera: Seattle Police Stop Shoplifting Spree at Costco.” KIRO 7 News Seattle, https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/caught-on-camera-seattle-police-stop-shoplifting-spree-at-costco/717152941/.
 
Costco Thieves Busted. Seattle Police Department YouTube Channel, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWF4VtZVz24.

Jordan Liles is a Snopes reporter with expertise in investigating misinformation, inauthentic social media activity, and scams.

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