Calling it the “Great Toilet Paper Caper of 2020,” the Walla Walla Sheriff’s Office in Washington said deputies made the agency’s biggest bust of the precious commodity during the pandemic.
A neighbor called 911 and interrupted a burglary at a residence, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. The neighbor provided a description of the suspect’s vehicle but “poor cell coverage and an aggressively driving thief” prevented police from catching the suspect, they said.
Hours later, deputies said they found the accused thief in his “disabled vehicle.” They discovered toilet paper in his car matching the packaging found earlier in the house, according to the news release.
Police said they arrested the suspect, whose name hasn’t been revealed but was described as an Oregon man.
After serving a search warrant, police found more than $1,000 in stolen goods that were recovered from his car, in addition to 108 rolls of toilet paper, they said.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, experts say there are shortages due stockpiling of some products including toilet paper, paper towels and disinfectant wipes, McClatchy News reported.
“(Shoppers) say that they won’t get caught without what they need again,” Chris Mentzer, the director of operations for Rastelli Market Fresh in New Jersey, told Today. “To compound the shortages, the customers that weren’t buying before are now buying extra, so the shortages are starting to impact stock levels.”
Grocery chain Kroger, with stores in 35 states, has “proactively and temporarily set purchase limits to two per customer” for toilet paper, McClatchy News reported.