Lacey Police referred the allegation to prosecutors for a possible misdemeanor theft charge after Office Depot employees noticed the chair was missing, reviewed surveillance video, recognized Eyman and called the police.

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Anti-tax activist Tim Eyman is under investigation in the theft of a $70 office chair from the entryway of a Lacey Office Depot on Wednesday.

Lacey Police referred the allegation to prosecutors for a possible misdemeanor theft charge after Office Depot employees noticed the chair was missing, reviewed surveillance video, recognized Eyman and called the police.

In the video, Eyman, wearing a bright red shirt saying “Let The Voters Decide,” can be seen circling around the store’s lobby, peering in various directions. He walks through the store’s anti-theft devices into the vestibule and sits in a rolling office chair that was displayed there. He reclines, spins around three times and then stands up and wheels the chair out of the store.

About a minute later, Eyman returned to the store, where he printed and scanned some documents, exchanged a printer and bought two new ones for $249, according to the police report.

“He acted wary when I told him I would help him take the printers out to the car,” a store employee told police. “When we got to his vehicle, he insisted I leave the printers on the ground next to his vehicle.”

Store employees, upon noticing that the chair in the vestibule was gone, checked their surveillance videos. The store manager identified Eyman based on his phone number, payment method and his name in the store’s loyalty system, the police report says.

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

Police attempted to call Eyman after the incident, and left a message when he didn’t answer, the police report says.

The store manager declined to comment.

The investigating officer noted that he also recognized Eyman based on his “Let The Voters Decide” shirt, which matched a photo on Eyman’s Facebook page.

Anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman waits Wednesday before speaking during a public hearing at the Capitol in Olympia. Eyman is under investigation for the theft of a $70 office chair from an Office Depot store in Lacey later in the day. (Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press)
Anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman waits Wednesday before speaking during a public hearing at the Capitol in Olympia. Eyman is under investigation for the theft of a $70 office chair from an Office Depot store in Lacey later in the day. (Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press)

The Lacey prosecutor’s office said it had not yet received a referral from the police department and has three years from when it receives a referral to decide whether or not to file charges.

Eyman, who’s been filing anti-tax initiatives for more than two decades, recently had a professional victory when he collected enough signatures to send his latest initiative to cut car-tab taxes to a flat $30 to the Legislature and, ultimately, to the voters in November.

But he’s being sued by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who alleges that Eyman has used money donated to his initiative campaigns to enrich himself. His company, Watchdog for Taxpayers, has been held in contempt of court and fined $500 a day for nearly a year for not handing over documents relevant to the lawsuit.

He also filed for bankruptcy and divorce late last year, claiming that the lawsuit and legal costs had pushed his finances to the breaking point.

In a November filing with U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eyman wrote that he had a little more than $2 million in assets against nearly $3.2 million in liabilities, almost all of which was owed to the state of Washington. He wrote that he had been making more than $42,500 a month since May.