Fred Meyer managers plea for better protections as Everett stores become more dangerous
David Webster, a manager of a Fred Meyer store in Everett, had one clear message for the city council when they gathered yesterday: “Our store has taken all the safety measures we can and we need help.”
Fred Meyer associates have had their cars vandalized and stolen, according to Webster, who claimed even one of his associates was abducted while mentioning the dangers the closest bus stop poses for his employees.
He wasn’t the only Fred Meyer manager who spoke out in front of the city council.
“At our store, we have an open-air drug market that is on the corner of Evergreen Way and Casino Road at an abandoned bank,” said Tyler Stumpf, a manager of a Fred Meyer located near the Bothell-Everett Highway, at the city council’s public forum. “What happens is the drug dealers shows up in their cars, they give the users a list of what they need to come in and steal and they come in and steal.
“They leave drug paraphernalia all over the store, whether its needles, foils with fentanyl, they also use our restrooms as a place to shoot up or do fentanyl,” Stumpf continued. “We just need some help.”
Local law enforcement has spent the past year working with stores involved in the city’s Retail Theft Program, including Fred Meyer, which produced 49 arrests in an undercover theft operation six months ago.
In Washington state alone, shoplifting costs stores more than $62 million each year, accounting for as much as 40% of a store’s theft loss, according to Shoreline Police Business Watch.
Stumpf stated he called 911 about someone with two knives in the store, but only received a text message as a response saying Everett Police was currently busy.
“We are looking into this call today involving knives, and our police response. We use a program that automatically sends text messages to 911 callers,” Everett Deputy Chief John DeRousse said in an interview with MyEverettNews. “I heard the call getting dispatched today and thought there was an immediate response, but it may have been delayed for some reason unknown to me.”
DeRousse told MyEverettNews that he and his department will continue to work with businesses, citing many of the problems Everett has faced with the homeless, addicted, and mentally ill population is interrelated to the issues the Fred Meyer’s managers expressed publicly.
Earlier this month, Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin joined more than a dozen other mayors in Snohomish County in forming a county-wide public safety coalition to address crime and public safety.