Eyman charged with theft in Lacey

Seen on video taking an office chair, the initiative promoter maintains his innocence in statement
Feb 20, 2019
Courtesy of: Lacey Police Department Surveillance footage shows Tim Eyman leaving a Lacey Office Depot with an office chair he didn’t pay for. Eyman returned to the store roughly a minute after taking the chair outside, and made a transaction involving printers.

Well-known initiative promoter Tim Eyman has had a rough few months.

Towards the end of 2018, he announced he’d filed for bankruptcy and divorce, citing his ongoing legal battle with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is suing Eyman for $2.1 million and seeks to prevent Eyman from managing, controlling, negotiating or directing financial transactions of any kind for any political committee in the future.

Now, in the midst of his legal battle, Eyman has been accused of stealing an office chair from an Office Depot in Lacey.

According to Joe Svoboda, an assistant city attorney for the city of Lacey, his office received a referral from the Lacey Police Department late last week.

On Tuesday, Svoboda said the city has filed theft charges against Eyman. No court date has been set.

Eyman has long been a Mukilteo resident, but questions have risen about his current residency. His newsletters, which includes an address his supporters can send donations to, lists a Bellevue apartment complex as his address. The Lacey Police Department’s report lists a Mukilteo address.

According to the Lacey Police Department’s report, Eyman took an office chair from the store to his car before returning for help regarding a printer Wednesday, Feb. 13.

“Tim Eyman came into our store to get some documents copied and also requested help with his printer he brought in,” an employee wrote in the report. “I helped him with his printer issue and helped him pick two new printers … while I was busy with another customer, Tim walked into the foyer and sat in our display chair, then proceeded to walk it out to the front door without paying for it.”

The employee said Eyman returned into the store to pay for the print job and two new printers, as well as to return an old printer.

“He acted wary when I told him I would help him take the printers out to the car,” the employee said. “When we got to his vehicle … he insisted I leave the printers on the ground next to the vehicle because he needed to rearrange a few things.”

According to the police report, the store manager noticed a display office chair was missing from the store. The manager checked surveillance footage and saw a man wearing a red shirt with the words “Let the voters decide” take the chair, valued at $70, out of the store without paying for it.

Surveillance video showed Eyman walking around the front of the store before sitting in the chair, spinning in it, and then wheeling it out the front door. He entered the store roughly a minute later, wearing a black jacket unzipped over the red shirt.

Eyman was identified due to the phone number he used in his purchase, the payment method he used, and his name referenced through the store’s computer system.

“I further identified Eyman through the store surveillance video provided, a (Department of Licensing) picture returned through dispatch, and a personal photo of Eyman taken from his Facebook account on Feb. 13, 2019, that shows him wearing the same red shirt with the phrase, ‘Let the voters decide,’” a Lacey police officer said in the police report.

The officer said he called Eyman, who didn’t answer, and left him a voicemail.

The Beacon reached out to Eyman for comment last Friday, and received a statement through his attorneys on Tuesday.

In the statement, Eyman says he is innocent.

“I did not, shortly after giving legislative testimony in Olympia, walk into an Office Depot in Lacey wearing a bright red ‘Let the voters decide’ T-shirt, smile for the cameras, and steal a $70 chair just moments before spending $300 on two printers and after getting some life changing good news,” Eyman said. “The reason that doesn’t make any sense is because it doesn’t make any sense. It’s ridiculous, it’s insane, it’s completely unbelievable.”

Eyman says he went into the store to pay for the chair and the printers.

“As the video shows, I went back into the store to pay for it,” he said. “That’s right, rather than hopping in my car for a daring getaway after my successful bank heist, I walked back into the store and inserted my debit card into the chip reader (Jesse James I’m not).”

Eyman said after testifying in front of the state Senate regarding the Public Records Act, he “drove up to the Lacey Office Depot to have them scan and make copies of a partial summary judgment motion I needed to file with the court that day and buy some office equipment.”

Eyman has had trouble obtaining legal counsel in his dispute with Ferguson, as his attorney has to be approved by a judge since he filed for bankruptcy.

Eyman said he received a phone call while in Office Depot from the Institute of Free Speech about representing him for free.

“As we talked, I went through the process of paying (this weekend I checked it out – my cellphone records show our phone conversation started before and ended after the purchase),” Eyman said. “As I left the store, I thought all was paid for and was focused on the phenomenal news that I might finally have legal counsel the state couldn’t veto. I was ecstatic.

“I then drove to Thurston County Superior Court and filed my partial summary judgment motion that I had just copied.”

A receipt in the police report shows the exchange of one printer, the purchase of two printers, the purchase of paper, and a payment for scanning documents. Payment for the chair is not included.

Eyman said he was in Florida on Friday when he started receiving calls and texts about the alleged theft.

“At first, I had no idea what they were talking about. After a couple of calls, I was told I had no choice but to ‘lawyer up’ to deal with it,” Eyman said, “and I couldn’t respond until after my attorneys connected with the appropriate city officials (government offices were closed Saturday-Monday).”

Eyman’s attorneys, Dan Gerl and Casey Arbenz, said they have they’ve reached out to Office Depot to either pay for the chair or return it, and due to Presidents Day, their office couldn’t get in contact with the city of Lacey.

“Although we had hoped to have had an opportunity to explain what happened with the Lacey City Attorney’s office, we were informed this morning that the city has filed charges out of Thurston County District Court,” Eyman’s attorneys said Tuesday. “Mr. Eyman vigorously maintains his innocence; as his attorneys, we are confident that once the circumstances are fully explained, Mr. Eyman will be cleared of any wrongdoing.”

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.