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Off-duty officer makes arrest of suspect trying to steal Costco vacuums
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An off-duty police officer held a person at gunpoint that was attempting to steal two Dyson vacuum cleaners from Costco last week until Manteca Police could arrive and apprehend the suspect.

According to the Manteca Police Department, the incident occurred on Jan. 21 at the Manteca Costco where the off-duty officer from a different agency happened to be shopping when he observed a subject with two Dyson vacuums – which are available for purchase from the Costco website from $599 each, making the theft of two a felony – heading towards an emergency exit.

The officer followed the suspect into the parking lot where he reportedly identified himself as a police officer, drew his sidearm, and held the subject until officers on-duty could arrive and that that person into custody.

Kevin Bird of Stockton was ultimately arrested for grand theft.

While the Manteca Police said they were grateful that a trained law enforcement officer was in a place where they could stop a crime in progress, the agency also said that they do not condone individual citizens attempting something similar.

“The off-duty Officer is employed by another agency and intervened in order to prevent the suspect from fleeing. We’re thankful for the Officer and his willingness to help us thwart this ongoing wave of shoplifting,” the Manteca Police said in a release announcing the incident. “We would like to stress that we do not encourage citizens taking this level of action, but the Officer was obviously well-trained and equipped to handle this particular incident.”

As a wave of organized retail theft sweeps the country and organized teams go from city-to-city hitting stores for merchandise because they know the risk is relatively low, the Manteca Police has been proactive in working with individual retailers to stop these crimes as soon as it appears that they are going to take place – developing relationships with loss prevention staff and stationing officers in strategic locations so that they can respond quickly and effectively.

With a dedicated detective assigned to the detail – Detective Dave Brown has built the program and developed the ongoing relationships – the city hopes to send a clear message to would-be thieves that they are on the radar of law enforcement and active steps are being taken to prevent them from being successful in their attempts.

The program has been so effective that other agencies throughout the area have contacted Brown and the Manteca Police to find out what they’re doing so that they can get a handle on similar issues occurring in their own communities.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.