NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — A business operations manager in Orange County, California, took matters into his own hands and planted air tags on multiple items after the business had multiple items stolen over the last few months.
The Newport Beach Police Department said “in a thrilling turn of events” a suspect was “apprehended in the act” of stealing merchandise including trees, plants, pots and a bench from a business called Roger’s Garden.
The suspect was identified as Michael Meek, police said, according to KTLA.
Over the last few months, surveillance cameras at the business captured a suspect sneaking in at night and leaving with merchandise, according to the news outlet.
“We have security cameras all over the store including our parking lot,” said Michael Sullivan, operations manager for Roger’s Gardens, according to KABC. “We’re frustrated. We’re losing things,” Sullivan said. “He’s taking a large fountain that’s about 150 pounds, pots that are $300 each -- large, expensive things.”
Sullivan said that on Nov. 16, the suspect went back to the business and left with additional items including a bench. However, this time, Sullivan planted Apple AirTags in multiple items, the news station reported.
“I saw one of the AirTags had moved to a location in Irvine, so I had the address at that point. I took a screenshot of it and I sent it to the detectives at 2 in the morning,” he said. Officers went out to the location that Sullivan provided.
“His backyard had become a sanctuary of stolen greenery,” police said.
“The suspect brazenly took prized bushes, carefully snatched exotic plants, and even made off with an entire bench, leaving the business in disarray,” police said. Over a few months, this happened about four times.