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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Eleazer, Carrie

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 10/26/2015 

 PCSO Organized Retail Crime Unit Arrests Seven Suspects for Theft of Victoria’s Secret Merchandise 


From October 20-23, 2015, Polk County Sheriff's Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Unit detectives, working with Lakeland Police Officers, Lake Wales Police Officers, and retail loss prevention personnel, arrested seven people during an investigation of organized retail theft at two different Victoria’s Secret stores.  

In October 2015, PCSO ORC Detectives were contacted by loss prevention partners from the two stores – one located at Lakeside Village in the city of Lakeland, and the other one located at the Eagle Ridge Mall in the city of Lake Wales – in reference to recent thefts taking place. The Victoria’s Secret loss prevention officers documented 26 separate thefts since July 2015 – 18 at Lakeside Village, and 8 at Eagle Ridge Mall - for a combined loss of approximately $50,000.  

During the investigation, the organized group of suspects were observed selecting and concealing the merchandise, exiting the business, and passing all points of the sale without purchasing the items. The suspect use “booster bags,” commonly used to defeat anti-theft devices normally located on the front doors of the stores. The “booster bags” were in the suspects’ possession when they were arrested.  

"It looks like we were able to stop this ‘panty raid’ just in time. These suspects traveled here to Polk County to steal from our merchants, meanwhile some of them are collecting government assistance. They clearly haven’t gotten the message that we do not tolerate theft of any kind in our county. If you’re going to steal, stay out of Polk County."  - Sheriff Grady Judd 

None of the suspects live in Polk County. The following were arrested during this investigation:

·       35-year-old Sherreane Williams, of 5012 32nd Avenue in Tampa; charged with one count Grand Theft, one count Petit Theft, one count Resisting Arrest, and one count Possession of Anti-Theft Shoplifting Device; she was released after posting $2,750 bond.

·         42-year-old Pauline Billups, of 2415 Lemon Street West Apt B in Tampa; charged with two counts Grand Theft, one count Petit Theft, one count Resisting Arrest, and one count Possession of Anti-Theft Shoplifting Device; she was released after posting $3,750 bond.

·         29-year-old Tequilla Wilson, of 2405-A Belmont Heights Ave in Tampa; charged with one count Grand Theft, one count Petit Theft, one count Resisting Arrest, and one count Possession of Anti-Theft Shoplifting Device; she was released after posting $2,750 bond.

·         30-year-old Shantheia Conner, of 1006 North Blvd Apt 207 in Tampa; charged with three counts Grand Theft, one count Petit Theft, one count Resisting Arrest, and one count Possession of Anti-Theft Shoplifting Device; she was released after posting $8,750 bond. Conner has an active Pasco County warrant for Grand Theft. 

Williams, Billups, Wilson, and Conner were arrested at the Eagle Ridge Mall after the ORC Unit observed them shoplifting a pair of pants from Victoria’s Secret and perfumed lotion and body spray from Bath & Body Works. All of the stolen merchandise was returned to the stores. All of the suspects attempted to flee when confronted by the detectives. Williams told detectives she drove the suspects from Tampa to Lake Wales and was paid $20.00; she also told detectives she receive $600/month in disability benefits. Billups told detectives she steals to support her children, and sells the merchandise on the street for 50% of its value; she also told detectives she receives $197/month in food stamps. Wilson told detectives she came from Tampa to Lake Wales to shoplift but denied stealing anything on that date; she also told detectives she receives $500/month in food stamps. Conner told detectives she came from Tampa to Lake Wales to shoplift to support her three children, and that she sells the merchandise on the street; she also told detectives she receives $511/month in food stamps.

Also arrested were:

·         31-year-old Donat Simeus, Jr., of 612 Bayberry Dr #3 in North Palm Beach; charged with one count Grand Theft, one count Resisting Arrest, and one count Possession of Anti-Theft Shoplifting Device; he was released after posting $2,500 bond.

·         46-year-old Sheila Wade, of 4805 Lake Arjaro Dr in West Palm Beach; charged with one count Grand Theft, and one count Possession of Anti-Theft Shoplifting Device; she was released after posting $2,000 bond.

·         43-year-old Janie Waiters, of 997 Pipers Kay Drive in West Palm Beach; charged with one count Grand Theft, and one count Possession of Anti-Theft Shoplifting Device; she was released after posting $2,000 bond.  

On October 23rd, Simeus, Wade, and Waiters were observed taking plastic shopping bags out of a car trunk in the Eagle Ridge Mall parking lot and entering Victoria’s Secret store with the “booster bags.” One suspect selected the merchandise, and put it into the other two suspects’ bags. They then left the store without paying, where they were intercepted by loss prevention officers and apprehended by PCSO and LWPD detectives. The property recovered during this shoplifting incident was valued at over $880.00.

Simeus did not speak to detectives after his arrest. Waiters told detectives Simeus drove her and Wade to the Eagle Ridge Mall because he has been stealing merchandise from there “almost every day.” Waiters stated she stole because she needed the money. Wade told detectives she rode with Simeus and Waiters to steal from the mall because she’s having a grandbaby and needed money to pay her bills.

An additional shoplifting suspect, not related to the aforementioned seven suspects, was arrested during the same time frame. On October 21st, a Lake Wales Police Sergeant pulled into the Dillard’s parking lot at Eagle Ridge Mall and observed a black male, later identified as 39-year-old Steven Henry, of 125 East Northside Drive in Lake Wales, running out of the store and into the parking lot carrying several pairs of jeans. Sgt. Smith was told by Dillard’s loss prevention personnel that Henry stole the merchandise. Sgt. Smith conducted a traffic stop, made contact with Henry, and recovered 18 pairs of stolen jeans from Henry’s car, valued at $1800.00. The stolen merchandise was returned to Dillard’s. Henry is on probation for fraud, and told detectives he steals and then sells the merchandise on the street to make money. He also told detectives he receives $748/month in disability benefits. Henry is suspected of shoplifting perfume from Victoria’s Secret on an earlier date.