handcuffs and jail bars

Tara O’Hara, 38, of Fenton and Robert V. Johnson II, 45, of Eureka have been charged with felonies connected to the theft of an SUV from the Eureka Walmart parking lot. They also were charged for allegedly using one of the victim's stolen credit cards, court records said.

Eureka and Maplewood police arrested the two June 6 at the Maplewood Walmart, 1900 Maplewood Commons Drive, after the missing SUV was found in the parking lot there, Eureka Police Capt. David Wilson said.

The St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged O’Hara with two counts of stealing, both class D felonies, and Johnson with first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle, a class D felony. Class D felonies are punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

On June 4, O’Hara allegedly took a purse from a 78-year-old Eureka woman at the Eureka Walmart, 131 Eureka Towne Center Drive. The Eureka woman called police at about 11 a.m. June 4 after discovering her purse and her 2007 Honda CRV had been stolen, police reported.

The victim told police she had placed her purse on top of a shopping cart and noticed it was missing while shopping. The woman initially thought she might have left the purse in her SUV, but when she went to check, she discovered the Honda was missing, too, the report said.

Police reviewed store surveillance video and allegedly saw O’Hara take the purse from the top of the cart. O’Hara was then seen on surveillance footage allegedly hiding behind cars while using a key fob to try to open the SUV. Eventually she allegedly could be seen driving away in the Honda, the report said.

After she was arrested in Maplewood and transported to the Eureka Police Station, O’Hara allegedly told authorities she took the purse when the woman was not looking. She also allegedly admitted to stealing the SUV, according to the report.

O’Hara allegedly told police she then drove to Moto Mart, 5695 Fox Creek Road, in Pacific and used one of the victim’s credit cards to get gas. She said she then went to the St. Louis West/Historic Route 66 KOA Holiday campground, 18475 Old Hwy. 66, to pick up Johnson, the report said.

O’Hara said the two went to the JCPenney store in the South County Center, 100 S. County Center Way, in south St. Louis County and used the credit card again. The two then met one of O’Hara's male relatives at a QuikTrip gas station in south St. Louis County, where she allegedly used the card to purchase gas for the relative, according to the report.

Surveillance video at the gas station helped Eureka Police identify O’Hara and the relative. They were able to track down the relative at a P’Sghetti’s Pasta and Sandwiches restaurant in south St. Louis County because he was wearing a T-shirt with the restaurant’s name on it, the report said.

The relative identified O’Hara as his mother and Johnson as her boyfriend. He told police he didn’t know the credit card or SUV were stolen, and he said O’Hara told him the Honda belonged to a relative, according to the report

When Eureka Police were called to Maplewood, they found the SUV had Illinois license plates, which O’Hara allegedly said were stolen from a vehicle at Lumiere Place Casino and Hotels, 999 North Second St., in St. Louis, the report said.

The suspects were searched, and Johnson allegedly was found with two red-and-white capsules that appeared to be heroin, and O’Hara allegedly was found with a plastic bag containing a crystal-like substance believed to be methamphetamine and 23 red-and-white capsules believed to be heroin, the report said.

Depending on the drug analysis, Maplewood Police will seek possession of illegal substance charges against the two through the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Wilson said.

He said the SUV and purse, including all its contents except for a checkbook, were returned to the victim.

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