by: Tony Thomas Updated:
DUNWOODY, Ga. - Metro Atlanta police say a woman has a unique way of shoplifting one of the hottest electronic items from area Walmart stores.
Dunwoody police, along with detectives in several metro counties, are looking for Ebony Washington. Investigators said in a two-day span in late January, Washington stole thousands of dollars worth of iPads, all right in front of the clerks.
Police said Washington buys an iPad and all its accessories with cash then heads to her car.
"The iPads have an outer plastic seal and it appears she's going back to her vehicle and maybe has a makeshift sealing container," said Dunwoody police Officer Tim Fecht.
Police believe Washington uses the machine to reseal the packaging after she removes the iPad and replaces it with notebook paper.
Surveillance video shows her going back into the store and returning the now iPad-less box for cash. The stores are usually not aware until a worker tries to restock the item and notices the iPad is not there.
Police said Washington hit Walmart stores in Douglasville and Newnan twice, along with stores in College Park, Dunwoody, Marietta, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Dallas and Austell.
"The Walmart is out $600 because they have a box with notebook paper instead of a $600 iPad," Fecht said.
Local police aren't alone in hunting for Washington. Dunwoody investigators said there are at least 21 warrants out for her arrest in Indiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and here in Georgia. Detectives have now brought in the FBI, hoping a federal case can be made against her.
"Hopefully we can pursue this and get her the jail time she deserves," Fecht said.
He said Washington has been arrested a handful of times, but because she's been charged with misdemeanors, she gets out of jail easily and continues on her path of crime.
Walmart officials said they are working with local police across the country and want an arrest as well.
A spokesperson told Channel 2 Action news, "We implemented preventative measures to monitor iPad returns and will report any suspicious activity to local police."
Police believe Washington is working for a crime ring out of New York. Records show she was arrested in New York three years ago for a similar crime involving Target stores.