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3 arrested in local Wal-Marts

Police respond to a string of crimes at two Santa Clarita locations

Posted: April 8, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 8, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

Three people arrested recently for crimes allegedly committed at local Wal-Mart stores are expected to appear separately in court this month, charged with offenses including burglary, embezzlement and trespassing.

In an apparent crackdown on crime, Wal-Mart officials called the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s station at least three times in the last week for separate incidents at Wal-Mart stores in Valencia and Stevenson Ranch, according to the incident log maintained by local sheriff’s deputies.

Phone calls placed Sunday by The Signal with store representatives at the Kelly Johnson location to have either store managers or loss prevention officers comment on the recent charges were not returned by press time.

A woman who identified herself as a manager at The Old Road location referred all questions Sunday to the chain’s corporate office in Arkansas, saying: “I am so sorry. I can’t make any comment.”

Wal-Mart officials, meanwhile, are proceeding with the criminal prosecution of a cashier, described as a cancer survivor who allegedly stole store money to pay for bills, and a penniless man who couldn’t afford deodorant.
As well, a Wal-Mart manager made a citizen’s arrest to have an alleged trespasser charged.

Burglary charge
On Thursday, a 36-year-old Newhall man who can’t speak English was arrested for shoplifting. However, since he told investigators through an interpreter he intended to steal store items, he was charged with burglary.

According to the notes of the arresting deputy, the suspect was seen entering the store by loss prevention officers monitoring surveillance cameras.

“The suspect had placed a large purse inside the shopping cart,” the deputy wrote in the incident log.

The loss prevention officer watched the suspect “hand select several items throughout the store” and place them in a shopping cart.

The suspect was then seen pushing the cart to the shoe aisle.

Once inside the shoe aisle, he retrieved “an unknown tool from inside the purse,” then “removed” the items from their packaging and concealed them in the purse.

The man allegedly stole $131 worth of small items, such as antacid tablets, shampoo, emery boards and skin care items.

When confronted by store officials, he said he had no money and no credit cards.

Embezzlement
In a separate incident, a Wal-Mart cashier was arrested and charged with felony grand theft ­— described by deputies as a case of “embezzlement” — for allegedly stealing $1200 from her cash register, in amounts of $50 and $100 at a time, since January.

When confronted by store officials, the 46-year-old Pacoima woman told them her husband is sick and that “she just got over cancer and needed extra money to pay bills,” according to the report filed by deputies.

“She said she only took the money when there was a bill due that she could not pay for,” they noted in their report.

Trespass
In a third and unrelated case, an unemployed 29-year-old Stevenson Ranch man was charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor, for allegedly being told three times to leave the store’s Stevenson Ranch location on The Old Road.

Deputies responded to the store when a Wal-Mart manager called to report a man “scaring customers” and “talking to himself.”

The suspect was first told to leave the store after a store manager spotted him in an “employees only” area of the store.

“The suspect, who is not an employee of Wal-Mart, was standing next to a trash compactor holding a lighter in the air,” deputies wrote in their report.

He was asked to leave and escorted from the store, they wrote.

The man, however, allegedly entered the store again and “began to move price signs around,” they also noted.

Again the man was escorted from the store.

When he was spotted near the store’s locked north entrance, store staff called the local sheriff’s station.

The man entered the store a third time, through the south entrance, where he purchased a beverage from the McDonald’s inside the building, then left the store.

The store manager who asked the man to leave told deputies she was placing the man under citizen’s arrest.

Deputies took the man into custody.

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