Tim Eyman steals a chair from Office Depot
Tim Eyman steals a chair from Office Depot

Dis­graced ini­tia­tive pro­mot­er Tim Eyman is under inves­ti­ga­tion for pet­ty theft by the Lacey Police Depart­ment after steal­ing a Bren­ton Stu­dios May­hart chair that had been put in the vestibule of the Office Depot on Sleater Kin­ney Road Southeast.

The alleged crime was com­mit­ted on the morn­ing of Wednes­day, Feb­ru­ary 13th. Footage pro­vid­ed to the Lacey Police Depart­ment by Office Depot shows Eyman walk­ing around inside the store entrance, clad in his red “Let the Vot­ers Decide” t‑shirt. He can be seen check­ing out his sur­round­ings, then walk­ing inside the vestibule and sit­ting down in the dis­play chair the store man­ag­er had put there.

Eyman twirls around in an office chair

After reclin­ing in the chair and spin­ning around in it a few times, Eyman gets up and wheels the chair right out of the store into the park­ing lot — with­out pay­ing for it.

Tim Eyman walks out with office chair

The sur­veil­lance video then shows him walk­ing back inside the store a few min­utes lat­er, this time with a black jack­et on cov­er­ing most of his red t‑shirt.

Eyman dis­ap­pears from the frame after walk­ing back inside, but soon reap­pears inside the left edge. He can be seen for sev­er­al min­utes at the counter before even­tu­al­ly leav­ing the store again, this time hold­ing a phone to his ear. The clerk can be seen walk­ing out behind him wheel­ing a dol­ly laden with two printers.

Here’s the clerk’s sworn writ­ten account of what happened:

Tim Eyman came into our store to get some doc­u­ments copied & also request­ed help with his print­er he had brought in. I helped him with his print­er issue and helped pick 2 new print­ers. He thanked me and shook my hand. While I was busy with anoth­er cus­tomer, Tim went into the foy­er and sat in our dis­play chair, then pro­ceed­ed to walk it out the front door with­out pay­ing for it. He then came back in and paid for his print job and his 2 print­ers as well as return­ing his old printer.

He act­ed wary when I told him I would help him take the print­ers out to the car. When we got to his vehi­cle (gray, mid to late 2000s SUV, pos­si­bly Ford Explorer/Expedition), he insist­ed I leave the print­ers on the ground next to his vehi­cle because he need­ed to rearrange a few things. I gave him my Office Depot busi­ness card and went back inside.

The police report states that after the store man­ag­er dis­cov­ered the chair miss­ing, he checked the sur­veil­lance footage to find out what happened.

(The sur­veil­lance footage the store pro­vid­ed to police is playable above unedit­ed, but the near­ly ten minute clip begins after Eyman has already entered the store for the first time. That’s why we don’t see him return­ing the printer.)

“Eyman was iden­ti­fied due to the phone num­ber, pay­ment method infor­ma­tion, and name ref­er­enced through the store com­put­er sys­tem that Eyman used to exchange the print­ers after walk­ing out of the door with the chair,” the inves­ti­gat­ing police offi­cer W.R. Smith stat­ed in his report. “I fur­ther iden­ti­fied Eyman through the store sur­veil­lance video pro­vid­ed, a DOL pic­ture returned through dis­patch, and a per­son­al pic­ture of Eyman tak­en from his Face­book account on 2/13/2019 that shows him wear­ing the same red shirt with the phrase “Let the voter[s] decide”.

After scan­ning receipts and state­ments from Office Depot into evi­dence, and adding the sur­veil­lance footage to its dig­i­tal lock­er, the Lacey Police Depart­ment con­clud­ed that Eyman was the like­ly per­pe­tra­tor and has referred the case (which car­ries a charge of mis­de­meanor theft) to the city pros­e­cu­tor. Offi­cer Smith’s report states that his ini­tial attempt to reach Tim Eyman was unsuccessful.

The Seat­tle Times’ David Gut­man also tried to reach Eyman upon learn­ing of the mat­ter, but could­n’t get a hold of him pri­or to pub­li­ca­tion.

After the sto­ry had been picked up by near­ly every major media out­let in the state, Eyman began email­ing a state­ment to reporters. “I just called the Lacey Office Depot who referred me to the Lacey Police Depart­ment,” said Eyman.

“I am expect­ing a call from the offi­cer in charge to explain what hap­pened. I will coop­er­ate ful­ly in this process and will do what­ev­er is required of me.”

He’ll “coop­er­ate ful­ly” and do “what­ev­er is required”? What does that mean… that he’ll return the chair that he stole from Office Depot? Or pay for it?

As we have doc­u­ment­ed here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate and at Per­ma­nent Defense (which hap­pens to be cel­e­brat­ing its sev­en­teenth anniver­sary today), there is no one in Wash­ing­ton State pol­i­tics who is more dis­hon­est than Tim Eyman.

Eyman has a long and dis­turb­ing record of lying to the press and the pub­lic, dup­ing his own donors, repeat­ed­ly vio­lat­ing our pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws, hyper­bol­i­cal­ly attack­ing our elect­ed offi­cials, and invit­ing peo­ple on his email list to harass his polit­i­cal oppo­nents. Now he’s been caught on tape com­mit­ting pet­ty theft.

We can only hope that this footage helps more Wash­ing­to­ni­ans under­stand who Tim Eyman tru­ly is: a greedy, self-obsessed indi­vid­ual with a patho­log­i­cal need for atten­tion who does not hes­i­tate to lie, cheat, and steal with impunity.

It would be nice if this footage result­ed in the end of Eyman’s career, but he has a gift for trick­ery and decep­tion and part­ing fools from their mon­ey, just like his idol, Don­ald Trump, also known nowa­days as Indi­vid­ual Num­ber One.

When I start­ed Per­ma­nent Defense sev­en­teen years ago, Eyman had just been caught with his hand in the prover­bial cook­ie jar, hav­ing admit­ted to tak­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in cam­paign funds for his own per­son­al use.

He spilled his guts to The Asso­ci­at­ed Press in a phone call dur­ing the Super Bowl, which that year, like 2019, was a matchup between the Patri­ots and the Rams.

Tim Eyman: I took money, lied about it

After the sto­ry broke, many peo­ple thought Eyman was done.

I knew better.

After a con­ver­sa­tion with two friends who pro­fessed them­selves dis­ap­point­ed because they sup­port­ed what Eyman was try­ing to do (kill Sound Tran­sit’s Link light rail), I decid­ed to take action. I drew up plans for Per­ma­nent Defense and it went live on the World Wide Web on Feb­ru­ary 15th, 2002… sev­en­teen years ago today.

It has been very sat­is­fy­ing over the years to watch a grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple of all polit­i­cal per­sua­sions real­ize what I’ve known ever since I caught my first glimpse of Eyman on local tele­vi­sion: he is not to be trust­ed. Con artists like Eyman and Trump thrive on the gulli­bil­i­ty of oth­er peo­ple. And once they’re estab­lished, it’s incred­i­bly hard to get rid of them. It’s like fight­ing a ter­mite infestation.

But if we don’t stop them, then the coun­try and state we love will be no more.

I’ve always believed Wash­ing­ton is worth sav­ing. Cas­ca­di­a’s future must be secured. That’s why my team and I have per­se­vered in our efforts to build a Per­ma­nent Defense against Eyman’s attacks on our Con­sti­tu­tion and com­mon wealth. Eyman prides him­self on his relent­less­ness; it’s arguably his favorite characteristic.

For­tu­nate­ly, we’re just as per­sis­tent and deter­mined as he is.

I could­n’t have imag­ined that on the very day that Per­ma­nent Defense turned sev­en­teen, the great State of Wash­ing­ton would be gift­ed with video reveal­ing Tim Eyman to be a pet­ty crim­i­nal. Now every­one can see an exam­ple of what Tim once infa­mous­ly called his “ugly, stinky, and dis­gust­ing” behavior.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Adjacent posts

One reply on “Tim Eyman caught on video stealing a chair from the Office Depot in Lacey, Washington”

Comments are closed.