Business owner helps catch thief with social media

The owner of True Value Hardware in Chico used Facebook Marketplace to track down stolen items and called Chico PD.

Posted: Jul 24, 2019 3:36 PM
Updated: Jul 24, 2019 8:13 PM

CHICO, Calif. - “This whole area back here is a steady stream of crime, people passing out from drug overdose...people in the dumpsters all the time. We've found needles, drug paraphernalia… sexual activity," said Gary Powers, co-owner of True Value hardware on East Avenue in Chico.

When Gary Powers and his business partner opened for business last March - they didn't realize what they were up against.

"We've had people try to jump the fence, people try to cut the fence," Powers said.

Powers says he's called the police more than 20 times in 4 months.

"We have a camera, we see it all," Powers said.

But Tuesday night, thieves hit hard.

"This is where they broke in," Powers said.

The two crooks can be seen carrying out brand new BBQ's and outdoor umbrellas.

What the thieves didn't know? Powers caught the whole thing on camera.

"We could see the cars and the faces but it still didn't deter them and so now we have to spend hundreds of dollars to have this area alamed"

Powers says the situation is heartbreaking.

"We opened this hardware to offer a service for North Chico after OSH closed, and we want to do the best we can but constant crime and theft issues make it harder and harder to do business. It's sad, I've lived my whole life in Chico and Paradise and this is the worst I've ever seen it," Powers said.

Powers got right to work tracking down thousands of dollars of missing BBQ's.

They weren't hard to find.

"The stolen merchandise was clearly for sale on Facebook Markeplace," Powers said.

Powers and his business partner posed as customers. They met the seller, saw that his truck matched the one caught on surveillance and called 911.

Powers got back one BBQ, and saw police slap the cuffs on one of the suspects.

"Business owners in Chico need to push back, they need to fight against crime, they need to call the police. Don't be scared. If they don't push back the problem is going to get worse and worse."

If you see something posted on Facebook marketplace of Craigslist that seems fishy or too good to be true, report it to the Chico Police Department.

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