Caldwell man arrested in retail gift card scheme

Posted at 1:44 PM, Feb 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-24 15:44:24-05

A Caldwell man has been booked into the Ada County Jail after police say he defrauded several area home improvement stores out of almost $1,000 in merchandise.

According to Meridian Deputy Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea, 41-year-old Kelly Owens went to several Home Depot stores in the area, changed price tags on a number of power tools to reflect a much lower price, then purchased the items using a gift card.

“He went through the self-checkout,” Basterrechea said, so the low-price tags would not attract the attention of store clerks.

Meridian Police were notified when loss prevention personnel for the Meridian Home Depot discovered the scheme.

“Our records show he purchased about a dozen power tools -– drill sets, nailers, and power saws, some for as low as two dollars. He would then sell the items at local pawn shops,” Basterrechea stated.

According to police, most of the thefts occurred in November and December of last year.

“Our investigation revealed Owens conducted the same scheme at Home Depot stories in Boise, Meridian and Nampa,” Basterrechea said.

Officers arrested Owens without incident Tuesday at his home in the 1200 block of North Meridian Road. “We arrested him on a warrant issued by the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office,” said Basterrechea.

Owens currently faces five felony burglary charges and three misdemeanors for petit theft.

“A scheme of this nature is more common that people realize,” Basterrechea said.