Tim Eyman breaks silence on alleged office chair theft
A video released on Friday showed $30 car tabs activist Tim Eyman taking a rolling chair out of a Lacey Office Depot without paying for it.
To make the incident even more bizarre, after putting the chair in his vehicle, Eyman went back into the Office Depot to buy two printers — but did not pay for the swivel chair.
The City of Lacey has filed charges against Eyman in District Court.
After remaining silent for several days, Eyman came on the Dori Monson Show on Wednesday to explain why he believes he is innocent of shoplifting.
“You have no idea how good this chair is,” he said to start off the interview. “This is one of the nicest chairs you could ever possibly have.”
The initiative writer, who declared bankruptcy in November after years of legal battles with Washington State Attorney General Ferguson’s office, flew to Florida on Friday for a four-day vacation with his family. Upon landing, he said his phone blew up with text messages from people who were confused and shocked by the surveillance video.
Since getting back Tuesday night, Eyman said that he returned to Office Depot to officially buy the chair.
“I just left Lacey Office Depot just now, I have a hot little receipt in my hand for my newly-owned and appropriately-purchased chair,” he said.
The entire incident was a “huge misunderstanding,” he said. Eyman claimed he got “the call of a lifetime” from Institute for Free Speech about taking on his lawsuit case that put him “on cloud nine.” He said that he talked on the phone as he paid for his items, and was so preoccupied that he never looked at the list of purchases on his receipt.
“I thought I bought everything,” he said.
Dori pressed him, pointing out that as the phone call came after Eyman took the chair out without paying, it did nothing to prevent him walking out with merchandise he hadn’t purchased.
“It’s not a normal course of shopping to see something that you’re planning on buying, to take it out of the store, load it in your vehicle, and then go back in to pay for it,” Dori said.
Eyman maintained that it was an honest mistake that has been blown out of proportion by the media since “it just doesn’t make sense and no one understood it.” Why, Eyman asked, would he have purposely taken it and then returned to the store, instead of making a quick getaway with the stolen chair?
“I made a mistake, I didn’t do it correctly, I think I’ve cleaned it up now,” he said. “It wasn’t on purpose … I didn’t steal a chair.”
That excuse is what any shoplifter “ideally would want to say,” Dori argued.
Dori did acknowledge that it is rare for a city prosecutor to take on a shoplifting case, since such crimes tend to not be pursued, and wondered if this could be due to politics.
“I do find it intriguing that yours is probably one of the only ones that gets filed around here,” he said.
“I will not be surprised if Bob Ferguson doesn’t take over the case and add it to the list of things he has against me because he doesn’t think the city attorney is going to be tough enough,” Eyman laughed.
He ended the interview by making a plug for Office Depot, a store that he said he has always patronized enthusiastically.
“It’s a really nice chair, I recommend everyone go out and buy one right now,” Eyman said, noting that he’s a preferred member.
“But pay for it first,” Dori quipped.