Olympia police think a 34-year-old man may be the ringleader of a pint-sized band of underage thieves who have stolen purses from the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant on his behalf, a news release states.
Olympia police arrested the man Wednesday after he left the Chuck E. Cheese at the mall, and employees there called police. He was arrested on suspicion of driving on a suspended license and felony warrant.
When police pulled the man over, an adult woman and three children ages 7, 8, and 10, also were in the car.
Olympia Police Sgt. Aaron Jelcick said the man has not yet been formally accused in the ongoing investigation of the thefts. Anyone with information that will assist detectives should call Jelcick at 360-753-8205.
Over the past month, there have been seven thefts of purses and diaper bags from the Chuck E. Cheese at the mall. In most of the cases, the credit cards taken in the thefts have been used at various locations in Pierce and Thurston counties.
Police identified a suspect by watching video surveillance footage showing "a man in his 40s, directing two children below the age of 10 to steal unattended property and bring it to him in the restroom."
Employees at the Chuck E. Cheese also were alerted to the suspect pictured on the surveillance footage, and called police when he showed up to the restaurant on Wednesday.
Police believe the man stole purses and credit cards from the Chuck E. Cheese at the Capital Mall between 15 and 20 times.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445; email@example.com