Woodman's helps police catch theft suspects
JANESVILLE—Someone stayed up all night, watching a video feed from an empty office, waiting for thieves to strike.
At about 2:20 a.m. Thursday, someone did, taking thousands of dollars worth of gift cards from a safe at the corporate offices of Woodman's Markets, police said.
The person watching called police, who arrested a woman and two men from Beloit, the night cleaning crew.
Tracy A. France, 42, of 515 Euclid Ave., Beloit, and Erick W. McCormick, 35, of 515½ Euclid Ave., Beloit, were arrested on charges of felony theft and felony financial card crime.
Scott E. France, 21, also of 515½ Euclid, was arrested on a charge of receiving stolen property.
Woodman's officials had contacted police May 30 and reported they thought someone had taken gift cards from the safe, police Lt. Keith Lawver said.
Woodman's set up a camera, pointed it at the safe and monitored, apparently for six days.
Police report recovering more than $14,000 in gift cards.
The thieves had the combination to the safe, which they likely found in the office, Lawver said.
Police also found previously stolen gift cards, some of which had been used, Lawver said.
Police are still trying to determine the value of the thefts but believe it's more than $20,000, Lawver said.
The three arrested had gone back to their cleaning tasks by the time police arrived, Lawver said. They worked for a cleaning service, not Woodman's.
Woodman's operates 15 grocery stores in Wisconsin and Illinois, according to its website.
Sara Eagle-Kjome, general counsel for the Janesville-based chain, declined to discuss details of how the company had monitored the video feed because the case was still being investigated.
Asked about the dedication needed to monitor the feed, Eagle-Kjome made one remark on the record:
“I think everyone knows that Woodman's is a cost-conscious organization.”