Police: 18-year-old Issaquah woman defrauds Nordstrom out of $165K

Nov 21, 2022, 9:02 AM | Updated: 10:58 am
Lynnwood police announced they have arrested a woman for allegedly stealing $165,000 from Nordstrom locations across the Puget Sound region and even as far as Scottsdale, Ariz. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
(Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Lynnwood police announced they have arrested a woman for allegedly stealing $165,000 from Nordstrom locations across the Puget Sound region and even as far as Scottsdale, Ariz.

The 18-year-old from Issaquah allegedly used the store’s cash registers to “conduct fraudulent returns with returns being placed into active bank accounts,” according to the Lynnwood Police Department (LPD).

Shoplifter with HIV accused of biting a Nordstrom security guard pleads not guilty

Police said it took place over the course of just one month at stores in Lynnwood, Seattle, Tukwila, and Scottsdale, Ariz.

“This is a large amount of money,” Detective Hammersmith with Lynnwood PD said. “One of the highest I have ever encountered at Lynnwood.”

The woman previously worked for Nordstrom in 2021, however, police did not state whether the theft happened when she was an employee. It’s unclear how authorities or the company got wise to the scheme.

She was arrested and now faces one charge of first-degree theft. Detectives said the investigation concluded Nov. 2.

KIRO Newsradio has reached out to LPD and Nordstrom and is waiting to hear back.

Retail theft has been on the rise, prompting Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson to create the Washington Organized Retail Crime Theft Task Force, consisting of local law enforcement, prosecuting attorneys, and local retailers. Since thefts often span multiple jurisdictions, prompting the attorney general coordinates a statewide law enforcement coalition tasked with targeting the responsible crime rings.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security analysis detailed the increased rate of organized theft across the country, with Washington retailers experiencing a 151% increase in organized retail theft, year over year, between 2019 and 2020.

working with stores involved in the Retail Theft Program, including the Nordstrom location in Bellevue, 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.

To combat the issue, the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday passed the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) Consumers Act, which works to help inform consumers about this illicit activity and helps law enforcement target criminals who sell high volumes of stolen merchandise on e-commerce marketplaces. The bill is waiting on the Senate to pass before going into law.

L.B. Gilbert contributed to this report.

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Police: 18-year-old Issaquah woman defrauds Nordstrom out of $165K