This isn’t a one time thing and local police have been powerless to stop it. Employees and customers of a grocery store in Washington state have been terrified for weeks. Lurking in the rafters above their heads, the Phantom of the supermarket thinks he owns the Haggen store in Lake Tapps.
Police are totally frustrated that they haven’t been able to catch him. He simply vanishes into thin air. They’ve tried more than once to bring him in.
“Auburn Police have been called to Haggen Lake Tapps on five occasions since Christmas Day,” they posted on their Facebook page. The mysterious thief helped himself to a very merry Christmas.
“On that day, the suspect stole thousands of dollars’ worth of cigarettes and liquor.” That was only the beginning. “There have been four additional 911 calls since then: two on January 15th, one on the 16th, and another this morning,” they wrote on the 17th.
You can watch the Facebook video here. It shows the surefooted burglar walking past a line of checkout counters doing his last minute Christmas shopping.
Since then, customers and employees “reported several instances of theft and sounds of footsteps originating from above the ceiling.” Cops were quick to arrive on the scene, but somehow the mysterious ghost managed to disappear each time.
“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.”
According to commander Mike Hirman, “We found where someone had been. There’s ventilation that had been moved and tracks that had been moved. We spent probably about four-and-a-half hours up in the rafters trying to hunt this guy down.” They came up empty handed. They even tried “deploying K-9 dogs and infrared sensors,” but the elusive phantom was nowhere to be found.
Around 4:30 a.m. on the 15th, employees “observed a foot hanging down from the ceiling,” Hirman relates. “several units responded and searched extensively until shortly after 8:00 a.m., without finding the suspect.” That’s when they got the fire department to give them a hand.
“Valley Regional Fire Authority was dispatched, using their thermal FLIR unit to assist during the search.” They closed the store while they ransacked the rafters. “They cleared the scene without finding the suspect, thinking that [the individual] somehow got out.” Or did he?
“Shortly before 2:00 p.m., Auburn police were called back to Haggen because employees heard footsteps in the rafters.” They closed the store again. “Current customers in the store were permitted to exit, but no new customers were allowed to enter the store. Employees were sequestered in a central location in the front of the store.” The firemen came back out with the infrared gear.
“Officers entered the rafters and searched for anyone who may be hiding up there. Hirman confirmed no evidence of anyone living in the rafters, such as a sleeping bag or other personal items, were found by police. The individual believed to be in the rafters was also not located,” The Auburn Examiner relates.
Police have no explanation for how he keeps getting away and they’re asking for the public to do their jobs by keeping a sharp eye out for anything suspicious in the vicinity of the market.