Press release from Humboldt County Sheriff's Office:
On Sunday, at approximately 2:00 a.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Deputy on patrol drove through the rear entrance of Safeway, 2555 Harris Street, Eureka. As he drove in, he saw an adult male standing near the northwest exterior wall. As the patrol car approached the male, he immediately turned his back, as if concealing something. The deputy exited his patrol car and asked the male what he was doing. The deputy saw the male was holding a clear plastic donation box. The deputy identified the man as Patrick Sean Riley, 54 years old from Briggs, Idaho.
The deputy asked Riley where he obtained the box, Riley told him from his work. The deputy saw Riley appeared to be under the influence of alcoholic beverages. Riley was detained by the deputy, who requested additional deputies respond and check with Safeway to determine if the box was stolen from inside the store.
The deputies contacted store employees who informed them the box was a donation box from inside Safeway. The boxes are located at the checkout stands on the counter so the public can donate. The money was being donated to the “Children Hunger Program”. All the proceeds are donated to local charity. The Safeway employees pointed out the spot where the donation box was stolen from. There was an outline on the counter where the box used to be. The employees recognized Riley as recently purchasing a twelve pack of beer after milling about the store. The deputies reviewed a video tape with the Safeway employees, which showed Riley stealing the box. After reviewing the tape they saw that Riley intentionally knocked the clear plastic box off the counter when he purchased the beer, then hid the box in a plastic bag, and then walked out of the store with it.
Riley was arrested for petty theft, possession of stolen property and public intoxication. He was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked. His bail is set at $25,000.00. The stolen donation box was and contents were returned to Safeway.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff's Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff's Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff' s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.