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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Wood, Donna

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 3/30/2014 

 Polk County Sheriff’s Office Organized Retail Crime Detectives Arrest Lake Wales Thief 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office Organized Retail Crime detectives arrested 31-year-old Henry Earl Sanders, 203 West Orange Avenue, Lake Wales, on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, and charged him with Felony Retail Theft.  

After Sanders initial arrest however, other area law enforcement agencies linked Sanders to several cases and added 2 counts of Credit Card Fraud, and Burglary of Conveyance to his charges. 

On Wednesday, March 26, 2014, Sanders walked into the Wal-Mart located at 7450 Cypress Gardens Boulevard, Winter Haven, selected a blue Florida Gators tote bag, and then proceeded to the baby section of the store where he loaded the bag with infant clothing concealing it in the tote bag. He exited the store, past all points of sale, without paying for the merchandise. All of this was caught on surveillance cameras. 

Polk County Sheriff’s detectives stopped the car Sanders was riding in a few minutes later.  Sanders admitted that he selected infant clothing, concealed it into the tote bag, and left the store without paying for it. He further said that the merchandise was on the front passenger side floor board of the vehicle. The stolen property was recovered and Sanders was arrested for a felony because of two prior convictions for theft in 2003 and 2004. 

The Lake Wales Police Department, learning of Sanders’ arrest, additionally charged him with Burglary and Illegal Use of a Credit Card because he stole a purse out of a car in Lake Wales on March 19th and then used a stolen credit card from the purse to buy gas and cigarettes at the RaceTrac on Highway 60 in Lake Wales.  The incident was also caught on video surveillance. 

The Winter Haven Police Department learned Sanders had been arrested and charged him with Retail Theft.  Sanders stole clothing from the Winter Haven Bealls department store on March 25th. Again caught on video, Sanders went into the Bealls fitting room with a Nike shirt and shorts and came out wearing the Nike shirt. He walked by all points of sale. Loss prevention confronted him in the parking lot and asked him for the merchandise back and to come back inside. Sanders took off the shirt and pulled the stolen shorts from under his waist band, gave them to the Bealls employee and took off on foot. He was identified the next day.

A criminal arrest history revealed that Sanders had previously been charged with 23 felonies, 20 misdemeanors, and 7 unknown level charges. Of the total charges, Sanders has had 12 felony convictions, 16 misdemeanor convictions, and 11 unknown dispositions.

Sanders has had criminal histories in Alabama, New York, and Florida, with prior arrests to included multiple charges of burglary, conveyance burglary, illegal narcotics, theft, fraud, etc. Sanders recently spent 36 months in state prison in beginning 2010. 

Sanders told deputies he was receiving EBT (food stamp) benefits. 

“Mr. Sanders has not learned his lesson. He has earned his way back to prison. Let’s hope he stays in jail until he gets his day in court, and is then held accountable for his crimes. We can’t afford to have him unsupervised in the community.” Grady Judd, Sheriff.

Sanders remains in the Polk County jail on the following charges with the following bond amounts:

1.    Felony Petit Theft (3rd or Subsequent Offense) - $5000 Bond

2.    Burglary of Unoccupied Conveyance - $5000 Bond

3.    Credit Card Fraud - $2500 Bond

4.    Credit Card Fraud - $2500 Bond

5.    Petit Theft - $500 Bond