Shoplifting suspect caught stuffing video games in pants

VIDEO: Security cam

This video shows multiple perspectives of the Best Buy store in Lacey on April 19, 2021
Courtesy of Lacey Police Department

Lacey Police apprehended a man who allegedly stole $500 worth of Nintendo Switch games from the Best Buy store on Marvin Road on April 19.

James Epps, 37, of Centralia, was walking away from the Best Buy when officers caught up to him where he was waiting at an intersection on a red light. Officers witnessed from their patrol car as Epps pulled several large clear plastic items from the front of his waistband and placed them into his backpack. Twice.

Lacey Police activated their emergency lights. Epps stopped, turned, looked at the officer, then looked around unsure as to why he was being stopped.

Epps stated that he did not steal anything.

Lacey Police stated that they witnessed him placing the games into his backpack.

Epps changed his story, stating that he did not know anything about any video games.

Lacey Police asked to see inside Epps’ backpack. When the backpack was opened, several Nintendo Switch video games in clear hard plastic security cases “spilled out.”

Epps told Lacey Police that he would talk to them about “the games” but that he had been “looking” at them in the store. Epps said he did not know anything about the games being in his backpack.

Epps said that he exited Best Buy and that an employee had followed him, asking him to “give me the games.” Epps stated that “maybe” his brother who lives in Olympia “gave him the games.”

Epps was viewed on Best Buy security footage turning away from the camera, concealing the merchandise as he shoved the cases down the front of his pants.

When the games were returned to Best Buy, the employee who received them told officers “oh, those were the games I saw that suspect put down his pants.”

Epps was arrested for shoplifting, placed in the Nisqually Jail. Epps also has a misdemeanor warrant out of Lakewood.


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