'Grab and Go' thieves hit Larned store Sunday

Feb. 19—LARNED — Big R, Larned's popular farm and ranch store, was the victim of a "grab and go" theft Sunday evening. Two individuals fled the building with an estimated $3,000 in inventory at approximately 6:30 p.m., while the store was conducting close-down procedures for the day.

Larned Police Chief Lance Duft said Monday morning that officers were on the scene Sunday to take statements and returned on Monday to review in-store security footage of the event.

"We'll know more by the end of the day, but at this point it appears that two individuals were involved in the theft," Chief Duft said. Duft noted that the thieves fled the scene in a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee heading east toward Great Bend on U.S. 56. An attempt had been made to cover up the vehicle's license plate, the chief said.

No firearms were used in the theft and no injuries were incurred in the incident.

Witness reports indicated that the two individuals were wearing hoodies to aid in disguising their appearance from store cameras. They loaded up two shopping carts with power tools and a portable generator, and fled the building through the front entrance, observed by two members of the store staff.

Big R, located at 908 E. 14th Street, or East U.S. 56 in Larned, has experienced several thefts during the month of February in which teams of two individuals have entered the building with the motive of removing power tools and similar costly items through the front entrance of the store.

An earlier incident

A similar incident occurred during business hours on Thursday, Feb. 15, in which power tools were removed from their boxes and two individuals left the store undetected by floor staff.

The thefts were discovered the following day when store security camera footage was reviewed.

On Monday, the LPD released photos taken from security camera footage of the earlier incident on their Facebook page. They are seeking information on the two persons of interest in the photos.

While both incidents are under investigation, Chief Duft noted that they are being treated as separate incidents.

"At this point, we don't have enough evidence to suggest that these incidents are related," Duft said. "But it may be possible that we will find out that they are."