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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Wood, Donna

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 8/18/2016 

 Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies Work With State Wide Prosecutor in Organized Retail Theft Investigation 


In October 2014, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Organized Retail Crimes Unit received information about an organized retail crimes group committing early morning thefts of electronics and merchandise at multiple Wal-Mart stores throughout Polk County. Since that date PCSO detectives, working with detectives with the Tarpon Springs Police Department, multiple other law enforcement agencies, and Walmart loss prevention investigators, have investigated an organized group of individuals committing grand thefts throughout the State of Florida in addition to Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina.  

“These suspects made a living systematically stealing. Retail theft is a serious problem in Polk County and in Florida. This isn’t just shoplifting; this is an organized racketeering business that costs retailers and consumers millions of dollars every year.” –Grady Judd, Sheriff 

As a result, there have been several law enforcement detentions or arrests of one or more member(s) of the group. At least 10 suspects have been identified. The investigation has determined that the suspects generally traveled in pairs or small groups in an ongoing illegal course of conduct in which “push outs” or “box stuffing” have been identified as the two primary methods of theft.  A “push out” occurs when member(s) of the group select merchandise and conceal the items in a purse, tote and/or on their person and exit the store without making payment for concealed merchandise. The second form of the theft is a “box stuff” which also involves concealment of the merchandise in a box, however in this variation a member(s) of the group proceed to a register with the box containing the concealed merchandise and present the box for purchase never disclosing they removed the original contents and stuffed the box with electronics or other high dollar merchandise.   

During the course of the investigation, there have been a total of (135) one hundred and thirty-five documented thefts within sixteen judicial circuits in the State of Florida totaling $178,929.25 to Wal-Mart, Inc. Of those (135) one hundred and thirty-five reported thefts, (124) one hundred and twenty-four thefts resulted in $161,000.86 of merchandise loss to Wal-Mart, Inc., with the remainder being recovered as a result of associate intervention or law enforcement arrest at the time of the theft.

From September 11, 2014 to June 22, 2015, the suspects traveled to (26) twenty-six different counties within the State of Florida, comprising (16) sixteen judicial circuits, to intentionally conspire and willfully engage in widespread thefts at Wal-Mart stores of electronics and/or other merchandise totaling $161,000.86. The thefts occurred in the following counties: Walton, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Escambia, Leon, Columbia, Suwannee, Duval, Hernando, Citrus, Pinellas, Pasco, Volusia, Alachua, Osceola, Orange, Polk, De Soto, Manatee, Hillsborough, Bay, Brevard, Seminole, St. Lucie, and Charlotte. 25 thefts were documented in Georgia. 

The charges filed by the Statewide Prosecutor are: Racketeering, F.S.S. 895.03(3); a 1st Degree Felony; Conspiracy to Engage in Racketeering, F.S.S. 895.03(4); a 1st Degree Felony; Grand Theft, F.S.S. 812.014(2)(C)(1); a 3rd  Degree Felony; and Conspiracy to Commit Grand Theft, F.S.S. 812.014(2)(A) + 777.04(3); a 2nd Degree Felony. 

The Polk County (Haines City, Auburndale, Bartow, Lakeland, Winter Haven) thefts / attempted thefts occurred (8 successful, 1 attempted): 

10/13/2014, Wal-Mart store #725, 36205 U.S. Highway 27, Haines City, FL. (approximately 1:50 a.m.) Suspects: Wesley Gregory Walker, Samaria Alatheya Gay, Vincenia Anquise Tumblin and an unidentified black male were observed defeating one or more anti-theft security devices and concealed approximately $1,731 of electronic merchandise and left the store without paying.  

10/13/2014, Wal-Mart store #718, 2120 U.S. Highway 92 W., Auburndale, FL. (Approximately 3:19 a.m.) Suspects: Wesley Gregory Walker, Samaria Alatheya Gay, Vincenia Anquise Tumblin and unidentified male were observed proceeding to the electronics department, and defeating one or more anti-theft security devices. The group concealed approximately $1,500 of electronic merchandise into oversized purses and left the store.  

10/13/2014, (approximately 4:45 a.m.), Wal-Mart store #779, 3501 South Florida Avenue, Lakeland, FL. Suspects: Wesley Gregory Walker, Samaria Alatheya Gay, Vincenia Anquise Tumblin and Jaron Tyrone Scott were observed entering the store and subsequently proceeding to the electronics department, where they defeated one or more anti-theft security devices. The group concealed approximately $2,105 of electronic merchandise into oversized purse(s). They then left the store, stealing the merchandise.   

10/13/2014, at approximately 5:00 a.m., in Wal-Mart store #1245, 5800 U.S. Highway 98 N., Lakeland, FL. Suspects: Wesley Gregory Walker, Samaria Alatheya Gay, Vincenia Anquise Tumblin and Jaron Tyrone Scott. Members of the group were observed proceeding to the electronics department, defeated one or more anti-theft security devices, and concealed approximately $1,449 of electronic merchandise into oversized purse(s). They then exited the store, bypassing all points-of-sale without making an effort to pay for said merchandise. 

05/07/2015, (at approximately 1:54am) Wal-Mart store #725, 36205 U.S. Highway 27, Haines City, FL. Suspects: Wesley Gregory Walker, Jaron Tyrone Scott, Vincenia Anquise Tumblin and Marquishia Ardajia Edwards were observed entering the store and subsequently proceeding to the electronics department, where Wesley Gregory Walker defeated one or more anti-theft security devices. The group concealed approximately $1,676.39 of electronic merchandise inside a diaper pail box (UPC #073528210600). They then purchased the diaper pail box during transaction #6456 with a Wal-Mart shopping card. They then exited the store with the merchandise concealed inside the box, bypassing all points-of-sale and without making an effort to pay for said merchandise. 

05/07/2015, (at approximately 2:40 a.m.), Wal-Mart store #968, 355 Cypress Gardens Boulevard, Winter Haven, FL. Suspects: Wesley Gregory Walker, Jaron Tyrone Scott, Vincenia Anquise Tumblin and Marquishia Ardajia Edwards were observed via CCTV entering the store and subsequently proceeding to the electronics department, where Wesley Gregory Walker defeated one or more anti-theft security devices. They concealed approximately $779.48 of electronic merchandise inside a diaper pail box (UPC #073528210600). They then proceeded to a register and purchased the diaper pail box with U.S. currency. They then left bypassing all points-of-sale and without making an effort to pay for electronics merchandise.  

05/07/2015, (at approximately 3:19am) Wal-Mart store #718, 2120 U.S. Highway 92 W., Auburndale, FL. Suspects: Wesley Gregory Walker, Jaron Tyrone Scott, Vincenia Anquise Tumblin and Marquishia Ardajia Edwards were observed entering the store and subsequently proceeding to the electronics department, where Wesley Gregory Walker defeated one or more anti-theft security devices. They were observed concealing approximately $372.69 of electronic merchandise inside a diaper pail box (UPC #073528210600). They then purchased the diaper pail box during transaction #511 with a Wal-Mart shopping card. They then exited the store, bypassing all points-of-sale and without making an effort to pay for the electronics merchandise.  

05/07/2015, (at approximately 4:00am) Wal-Mart store #580, 1050 E. Van Fleet Drive, Bartow, FL. Suspects: Wesley Gregory Walker, Jaron Tyrone Scott, Vincenia Anquise Tumblin and Marquishia Ardajia Edwards were observed entering the store and subsequently proceeding to the electronics department, where Wesley Gregory Walker defeated one or more anti-theft security devices. The group concealed $975.56 of electronic merchandise inside a diaper pail. A manager observed two of the suspects concealing the merchandise inside the empty box, and staging it back atop a shelf. That box was retrieved by the store manager and the concealed merchandise subsequently located inside. They were not successful in stealing the merchandise. 

05/07/2015, (at approximately 5:31am) Wal-Mart store #779, 3501 S. Florida Avenue, Lakeland, FL. Suspects: Wesley Gregory Walker, Jaron Tyrone Scott, Vincenia Anquise Tumblin and Marquishia Ardajia Edwards were observed entering the store and subsequently proceeding to the electronics department, where Wesley Gregory Walker defeated one or more anti-theft security devices. The group concealed approximately $1,246 of electronic merchandise inside a diaper pail box (UPC #073528210600). The group then purchased the diaper pail box with a Wal-Mart shopping. They then exited the store with the merchandise concealed inside the box, bypassing all points-of-sale and without making an effort to pay for the electronic merchandise.

Wanted are: