Police in the state of Washington believe somebody is stealing from a local grocery store – and also apparently living somewhere in the store's ceiling between his alleged thefts.
Auburn Police said in a Facebook post last Friday that officers "have been called to Haggen Lake Tapps on five occasions since Christmas Day. On that day, the suspect stole thousands of dollars’ worth of cigarettes and liquor. There have been four additional 911 calls since then: two on January 15th, one on the 16th, and another this morning."
"In each incident, employees either saw the suspect or heard the suspect in the rafters above the ceiling. In each case, officers searched above the false ceiling but came up empty," the posting continued, imploring anyone with information about the suspected ceiling-dwelling thief.
Authorities have video of the thefts, but have gleaned very little identifying information about the mystery man, as he appears to be completely masked.
Police have said they discovered evidence that someone has been living in or moving around the ceiling of the grocery store that has led them to believe the mystery thief is squatting somewhere in the store's ceiling or elsewhere in the building – but have come up short in catching the actual suspect.
Auburn Police Commander Mike Hirman said that authorities have even tried using infrared heat-mapping scanners and K-9 units to try to find the suspect with no success, according to local television staton WTHR.
“We found where someone had been,” Hirman said. “There’s ventilation that had been moved and tracks that had been moved. We spent probably about 4.5 hours up in the rafters trying to hunt this guy down.”
“It’s very difficult. There are many, many little hiding places where he could’ve been,” the police commander continued. “It’s such a large store, and it’s very crowded with venting and everything.”
Customers of the market marveled at the bizarre nature of the crimes, with one saying it sounded like something he heard about someone living in secret at an airport.
“I think I heard in an international airport, someone was living in the airport and hiding at night and coming out, but never in the supermarket,” Trevor Holmes told WTHR.
“I think he’s clever if he’s homeless and has got nowhere to go,” customer Sarah Boll told WTHR. “I think he’s found a safe spot. For now.”
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