NATICK, Mass. —A Quincy man who worked as a security guard at Macy’s at the Natick Mall was actually the leader of an organized shoplifting ring and used his job to make it easier to steal merchandise, authorities said.
Natick Police arrested Kurt W. Hampe, 23, on Thursday at 9:55 p.m., and four others will be summoned to appear in Framingham District Court at a later date, according to a police report filed in court Monday.
Among the 83 items the group tried to steal, were 42 men’s shirts, five women’s suits and a cellphone, the report said. The merchandise was typically valued at more than $7,000, but because of sales, the price was about $4,800. Macy’s officials plan on reviewing past surveillance videos because they found evidence that the ring may have been involved in other thefts, the report says.
On Thursday, the Macy’s loss prevention office received an anonymous tip that Hampe, who also worked at another store in Boston, was the leader of “an organized retail theft operation,” and that he and his group planned on “hitting” Macy’s on Thursday at 8:30 p.m., the report said.
Hampe was recently hired as a store security guard, the report said. Security personnel began monitoring Hampe’s Facebook page. That night, four people, including two whom security officers recognized from Hampe’s Facebook page, came into the store.
Security officers saw three of them, his brother George A. Hampe, 22, of Quincy, Ahmed Ghazi, 34, of Randolph and Karen Ghazi, 24, also of Randolph, filling carriages with thousands of dollars in merchandise. A fourth man, Matthew P. Lynch, of Quincy, acted as a lookout, while Kurt Hampe walked around the store, ignoring what was happening, the report said.
As George Hampe was leaving, he noticed loss prevention officers watching him and ran, leaving the goods behind. The Ghazis also left empty-handed, the report says. Security guards stopped Lynch and Kurt Hampe when he tried to flee, the report said.
Kurt Hampe refused to speak. Security personnel said they looked at Hampe’s phone and found evidence of the plan, but the report did not say what they found on the phone.
Lynch claimed he was there to meet Hampe for dinner. Lynch agreed to let officers see his phone, but before giving it to them, he tried to delete something, so they took the phone from them, the report said.
On the phone were a series of messages between him and Hampe. One of them said, “When is go time at Macy’s,” with a response of “8:30,” the report said.
Police released Lynch, but plan on summoning him, George Hampe and the Ghazis to appear in court.
Police arrested and charged Kurt Hampe, of 64 Town Hill St., with larceny of property worth more than $250 and conspiracy to commit a crime.
At his Framingham District Court arraignment on Monday, Hampe pleaded not guilty and was released on $200 bail. He is due back in court on Jan. 22 for a pretrial conference.