She was taking orders and then filling them as she got them. Usually people go out and just steal stuff, and then trade it for drugs or money or whatever, so this is a little unique. —John Harvey, Ogden's deputy director of support services
OGDEN — Police have arrested a woman they say would post online ads for large items and then steal them from hardware stores.
"She was taking orders and then filling them as she got them," said John Harvey, Ogden's deputy director of support services. "Usually people go out and just steal stuff, and then trade it for drugs or money or whatever, so this is a little unique."
Police say they have been investigating Amanda Barnes, 26, since June when she pawned more than $20,000 worth of merchandise, including barbecue grills, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, vacuums, pressure washers and power tools — all brand new and still in their boxes. She has been booked into the Weber County Jail.
Barnes later turned to the Internet, posting several ads on the KSL.com classifieds page. On July 24, Barnes posted an online ad for a Weber grill, saying "my loss is your gain." In the ad, Barnes claimed to be a single mother who now had no use for the grill and no place to put it.
In a sting operation, Ogden police answered the ad, and when Barnes agreed to the sale, officers advised local stores to be on the lookout. Barnes successfully walked out the front door of an Ogden Home Depot without paying for the $700 grill, loaded it in her car and transported it to the meeting location where police waited.
Police are investigating other thefts in Weber County where Barnes was caught on surveillance footage taking large items from other Home Depot and Lowe's stores.
People who may have purchased items from Barnes through online ads or have more information about the alleged thefts are asked to contact Ogden police at 801-629-8496.
"If you get that feeling that maybe something isn't right, the good thing to do, the prudent thing to do, would be to call the police department," Harvey said.