GASTONIA, N.C. (WJZY) – It was a shopping spree, but not the legal kind.

Police are working to identify a thief who snatched almost $19,000 worth of iPads and iPhones from a Gastonia Walmart by making it to the back “employee-only room” undetected by workers but was caught on camera.

Authorities say the theft happened Monday night at the Walmart on East Franklin Boulevard in Gastonia.

“The suspect manages to avoid being seen by anybody,” said Rick Goodale with the Gastonia Police Department.

When the thief thinks someone’s nearby, investigators believe that’s when they duck down to hide and even wipe off the door knob to avoid leaving prints in between stuffing iPhones and iPads into their shirts and walking out with the edges of the electronics visible through their clothing.

“It appears the suspect put the items under clothing and realized, ‘This is going to be way too easy to see what I’m doing,’ so at that point, they came up with a second plan that they had so many items that they found some other way to get those items out of the store,” said Goodale.

Police say the suspect unloaded the items from their shirt and hid them in another “employee-only” area, only to come back with a suitcase to pack up their massive haul of high-end electronics, getting out of the store undetected, pushing a shopping cart with the iPhones and iPads hidden in the suitcase.

Police say the electronics had serial numbers, which they hope leads to finding the pricey items and the thief.

“When we have cases like this, especially this high dollar amount, the companies they aren’t going to just absorb that loss,” said Goodale. “They’re going to pass it down to the consumer, so these types of cases do affect all of us.”

Gaston County Crimestoppers is offering up to $1,000 if you can help give investigators the information they need to make an arrest.

Walmart released the following statement to Queen City News:

“This is a police investigation, and we refer all questions to them.”