kansascity.com Police secretly watched Thursday as an employee at the Ward Parkway Target store helped put merchandise from the loading dock into two moving trucks.
Officers followed one of the trucks an hour’s drive away, to a farmhouse in Henry County. There, they discovered more than $100,000 worth of merchandise, all of it apparently stolen from Target.
“It’s literally full of stuff,” said Police Capt. Mike Wood. “You name it, it’s out here.”
The farmhouse was one of four homes that Kansas City police raided Thursday as part of an embezzlement investigation that started more than a week ago with Target security officers.
In all, police said, they have recovered more than $300,000 worth of merchandise and arrested five suspects. No charges were filed Thursday.
No one lived in the Henry County farmhouse, which was set up like a store, police said. Mini-refrigerators and freezers were stored on the back porch, while household items such as lamps and candles were set up in one room, with toys and clothes in another room. A shed contained smaller items, such as bags of socks.
Police even found lists of requests from friends and relatives to the employee who is suspected of embezzling the items.
“They would tell what they needed and she would apparently get it,” Wood said.
Police said they believed the woman lived with a man in a trailer on the property.
Target sent two semi-trailers to the scene Thursday to reclaim its merchandise.
Authorities also raided the woman’s former home near 86th Street and Wornall Road after following one of the moving trucks there Thursday morning. The house recently had been condemned, but it was filled with stolen items that police hauled off.
Police also raided a home near Noland and Bannister roads, and another in the Ozarks. They suspect more homes may contain stolen merchandise.
Officers spent hours inventorying the items and planned to work late into the night, Wood said.
The Target employee had worked at the store since it opened and was considered one of the store’s best employees, police said.
Security officers became suspicious recently when they noticed some merchandise missing from the dock. They then watched video surveillance and saw the suspect loading items into cars and trucks without any supporting paperwork.
They then called in the Kansas City police.