The Forum Boulevard, Fort Myers Home Depot (NYSE:HD) has been at the center of growing tool thefts being driven by the opioid epidemic.
Home Depot targeted by tool thieves
According to Trish Routte, the Crime Stoppers Coordinator the thefts have been happening all the time. However, the problem is not just affecting one location. Similarly, Lee County hardware stores notably Home Depots and Lowe’s stores have been targets for a continued rash of tool thefts.
Routte indicated that there are people who are entering the stores and they pick large tools worth between $600 and $700 and they just walk out the door. The thieves are not just picking things they can stuff into pockets and all this happens under CCTVC surveillance but the individuals don’t seem to care. The people are not stopping at the payment counters and there is no one stopping them.
At least every week the Southwest Florida Crime Stopper is putting out alerts about such types of crime. Interestingly it is not just power tools that the thieves are targeting. Last year there were incidences where thieves were caught thieving or trying to steal tools ranging from weed eaters to chainsaws and many more.
According to the Crime Stoppers coordinator thieves are getting away with thousands of dollars’ worth of tools every time they steal. Although some thieves are acting on their own it has been established that the stolen tools are playing a role in organized crime.
Home Depot addressing the issue of tool thefts
Home Depot’s head of investigative team Mike Combs stated that the retailer has a team across the country to deal with the issue which is increasingly becoming problematic. Combs added that this is a major issue that is affecting the company’s business and they are serious about addressing it.
Comps explained that the thieves are called “boosters” who steal from the stores and they will sell the tools in exchange for drugs or money from people called “fences.” The fences then sell the tools online at huge discounts on sites such as OfferUp, Letgo, and Facebook Marketplace.