From Thursday, May 25th through Saturday, May 27th, the PCSO Organized Retail Crimes Unit and partnering entities conducted a countywide operation focusing on those who shoplift from Polk County retail stores, and made 29 arrests.
“All of these suspects earned a ‘free ride’ to the county jail after attempting to steal merchandise. Our Organized Retail Crime task force works with area retailers and other law enforcement agencies to apprehend those who refuse to comply with the law. We are sending out this warning to everyone: if you shoplift in Polk County, you will go to jail.” – Sheriff Grady Judd
The participating businesses involved in this investigation from Davenport, Lakeland, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Haines City, were:
· Victoria’s Secret
· Burlington Coat Factory
· TJ Maxx/Marshall’s
Detectives worked with loss prevention personnel at each store, focusing on identifying suspects who were trying to conceal items on their person and leave the stores without paying, and who were scanning items not being purchased in order to pay less for the items.
Of the 29 arrests, 22 were for petit theft, and 18 were for other crimes discovered during the investigation. Of the 29 arrests, 7 of those arrested were juveniles – 6 charges were petit theft, two charges for grand theft, two charges for false identification to law enforcement officer, and one charge for probation violation. PCSO filed a total of 31 misdemeanor charges and 9 felony charges against the 29 suspects. The total value of items stolen by these suspects is $2,793.21.
16 of the suspects have criminal histories, and 8 of the suspects told detectives they are receiving government assistance. Those with criminal histories have a combined total of 48 previous felony and 45 previous misdemeanor charges.
Those arrested, in order of arrest, were:
Three juveniles from Haines City, ages 15-16 were arrested together at Haines City Walmart after stealing food and drinks valued at $18.86. They were all charged with one count petit theft. All of these juveniles skipped school for the day.
Two juveniles from Winter Haven, ages 14 and 14 were arrested together at Belk in Winter Haven after concealing clothes valued at $506.97 in their backpacks after leaving the dressing room. Both juveniles were charged with one count grand theft. Both of these juveniles have a criminal history including battery and disorderly conduct.
48-year-old Sarina Cuevas, of 500 Victoria Park Drive, in Davenport; arrested at Haines City Walmart for concealing numerous items in a tote bad and went to the self-checkout registers and didn’t pay for all the items she had. Cuevas paid for $38.76 worth of merchandise and $228.28 worth of merchandise was recovered from her has she tried to exit the store. She has 3 previous felony and 6 misdemeanor charges. Cuevas was charged with Retail Theft. She told detectives receives public assistance each month and receives $300.00 worth of food stamps.
32 year-old Candie Swaim, of 104 West Orange Street, in Davenport; arrested at Haines City Walmart. She took a drink from a shelf and drank half of the bottle and placed it back on the shelf. She selected five toys and concealed them in her purse and was stopped by loss prevention while trying to exit the store. She had $18.84 worth of unpaid merchandise. She was charged with one count petit theft. She told detectives she receives $511.11 in public assistance each month.
29-year-old Lashawn Grimes, of 708 North Scenic Hwy, of Lake Wales; arrested at Lake Wales Walmart for only paying for several items in the self-checkout line.$3.27 was recovered in stolen food. Detectives also found marijuana in his pocket after he was taken into custody. He was charged with one count Retail Theft one count possession of marijuana and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. He told detectives he receives $937 in food stamps and $392 in housing.
25-year-old Jasmine Key, of 317 E. Johnson Ave, in Lake Wales; arrested at Haines City Walmart for concealing food valued at $5.80. Her criminal history includes arrests for larceny, grand theft, and petit theft. Key was a past employee and was fired in 2012 for stealing money from the register. She was charged with one count petit theft and one count resisting without violence.
31-year-old Kevin Bell and 27-year-old Jessica Mason, of 7707 W. 103rd St in Hialeah; were arrested together at Walmart for concealing selected merchandise in Jessica’s purse. They paid for only $12.84 worth of merchandise at the self-checkout line and was stopped while exiting the store and had merchandise valued at $91.06. Bell and Mason were charged with one count petit theft each. Mason told detectives she receives $357/month in public assistance.
35-year-old Michael MacKendrick, of 499 Saddlebad Lake Road, in Lake Wales; went into the Walmart and concealed a packet of Nicorette gum valued at $25.98. He was charged with one count petit theft.
15-year-old Miguel Sanchez Sparrow of 726 Carver Street W, in Lakeland, concealed $18.52 worth of merchandise at North Lakeland Target. Sparrow told detectives he, “forgot to pay for it,” also falsely identified himself. Sparrow is being charged for one count petit theft and one count providing false name to law enforcement officer.
39-year-old Samantha Shuler of 2963 Lights Chapel Road, in Tennessee, was checking out in the self-checkout line at Walmart and only paid for $19.76 worth of merchandise. While exiting the store and approached she said, “I forgot the Walmart tote bag containing other merchandise was on my shoulder and that I didn’t pay for those items,” valuing at $155.63 of merchandise. This is Shuler’s second arrest in Polk County in the last 16 days. She is being charged with one count petit theft, one count possession of meth, and one count possession of drug paraphernalia. Her previous arrest on May 10, 2017, with PCSO was for one count possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count false identification to law enforcement officer.
65-year-old Eugene McKnight of 118 W. 10th Street, in Lakeland, was concealing unpaid merchandise on his motorized scooter valued at $91.39 at Target. After McKnight was caught, he threw the merchandise on the group and yelled, “you can take it!” McKnight is receiving $750/month in social security and $16/month in public assistance. He is being charged with one count petit theft. His previous criminal history includes: petit theft, robbery with firearm, grand theft, battery (domestic violence), DWLSR, probation violation, robbery, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, possession of cocaine, introduce contraband into detention facility, resisting arrest without violence, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of concealed firearm, aggravated assault, and burglary.
56-year-old Maria Silva of 5418 Pine Creek Drive, in Orlando, selected merchandise at Marshalls and immediately went to the cashier to return for the unpaid merchandise and received a gift card. After her return she went through the store concealing merchandise valued at $306.04 in her purse. Upon exiting the store she was stopped and stated, “I have the urge to constantly steal, I’m a kleptomaniac.” She receives $199/per month in public assistance and was charged with one count grand theft. Her criminal history includes the following: grand theft, failure to appear, retail theft 300 more coordinate with others, petit theft, and probation violation.
38-year-old Kelly Hagans of 3245 E. Main Street Lot #15, in Lakeland, was observed removing merchandise packaging and concealing it in her clothing at Walmart. This merchandise was valued at $12.88 and she told detectives it was in her hand. She is being charged with one count petit theft. Her previous criminal history includes the following: possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, distribution of 5 or more grams of cocaine base, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, possession of controlled substance, and DUI.
44-year-old Chris Medeiros and 40-year-old Stephen Elston of 3603 Publix Road, in Lakeland, went to the self-checkout line in Walmart and intentionally didn’t scan merchandise concealed in a Walmart plastic bag that was valued at $80.27. Medeiros stated, “I didn’t ring up about ten items because I couldn’t afford it all.” Medeiros and Elston are being charged with one count petit theft. Medeiros’ criminal history includes the following: possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, tampering with evidence, resisting arrest without violence, battery, and DWLSR. Elston’s criminal history includes the following: maintain dwelling for drug use, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, tampering with evidence, dealing in stolen property, and resisting arrest without violence.
44-year-old Lisa Everidge of 128 E. Hisbiscus Drive, in Lakeland, was observed concealing merchandise valued at $142.22 at Walmart. She told detectives, “I went crazy.” She is being charged with one count felony petit theft and receives $160/month in public assistance. Her criminal history includes the following: felony petit theft, 3rd Subsq, VOP, possession of alprazolam, larceny, retail theft, possession of clonazepam, battery, felony battery domestic, resist law enforcement officer without violence.
38-year-old Joseph Morris of 931 Jere Circle, in Lakeland, went to a self-checkout line at Walmart and did not purchase all of his items in his cart. He put all of his unpaid merchandise in his wife’s cart (who was also at the self-checkout line), without her knowledge and attempted to exit the store. His unpaid merchandise was valued at $340.26. He told detectives that he had been taking orders for stolen property for about a month. His previous criminal history includes the following: disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.
17-year-old juvenile from Clearwater, was observed in the self-checkout line at Walmart and only paying for two of the 6 items in her bag; her unpaid merchandise was valued at $92.98. She told detectives, “I just wasn’t thinking, and I thought it would be cool.” She was charged with one count petit theft.
22-year-old Lexria Honors of 1233 8th Street W, in Lakeland, was observed concealing merchandise valued at $5.74 in a plastic bag. She was charged with one count petit theft, and violation of probation. She receives $511/month in public assistance. Her criminal history includes the following: child neglect, selling drugs, and battery.
20-year-old Douglas Spencer of 2155 Sandra Beaujard Blvd, in Lakeland, was checking out at Walmart and paid for all of his items except the item in his pocket which was valued at $6.31. He was charged with one count petit theft.
23-year-old Luis Rosa-Rodriguez of 512 McCay Court, in Lakeland, was observed selecting merchandise in Walmart and attempted to exit with $90.45 of unpaid merchandise. He told detectives that he wasn’t planning to steal it, he just wanted to see if it would fit in his car. He was charged with one count petit theft.
27-year-old Dillon Hunt, of 8420 Gibson Oaks Drive, in Lakeland, was observed concealing a watch in his hand after removing the packaging at Sears valued at $34.99. While deputies were trying to arrest him, Hunt grabbed the deputy sheriff’s legs and tried to throw him to the ground. He was charged with one count petit theft 2nd offense, one count resisting law enforcement with violence, one count battery on law enforcement officer, and one count resist property recovery by merchant. He has an extensive criminal history to include the following: burglary, larceny, possession of Alprazolam, possession of drug paraphernalia, larceny grand theft from dwelling, aggravated assault with deadly weapon without intent to kill, concealed weapon, person crime – corrupt by threat, resisting law enforcement officer with violence, resisting law enforcement officer with violence, fraud, false identification to law enforcement officer, probation violation, DWLSR, possession of marijuana, petit theft, and possession of drug without a prescription.
36-year-old Randall Glass Jr., or 5035 Maple Drive, in Lakeland, concealed merchandise in his pocket valued at $9.88. He was charged with one count petit theft. His criminal history includes petit theft and battery.
15-year-old juvenile from Lakeland, concealed merchandise in his pocket valued at $9.88 at Walmart and proceeded towards the exit. He is being charged with petit theft second offense, violation of probation, and providing false identification to law enforcement officer. He is on active home detention for unlawful possession of a firearm, petit theft, and trespassing.
21-year-old Felix Zamora, of 1244 Josephine Street, in Lakeland, was observed concealing merchandise in his pocket valued at $10.98 in Lowe’s. He was charged with one count petit theft.