A 43-year-old New Haven man wore a Walmart employee vest to allegedly gain access to and steal $410 worth of merchandise from the store at 131 Eureka Towne Center Drive. The alleged theft happened about 9 a.m. Dec. 27, Eureka Police reported.
An alarm was activated in the Walmart store when a GPS tracker was removed from the building, and police responded to the scene. The GPS device led an officer to a blue Nissan Rogue, which initially was seen in the left-turn lane on northbound Hwy. 109 near Augustine Road, the report said.
When the officer approached the SUV, it got out of the turn lane and started traveling north on Hwy. 109. The Nissan then made a left turn onto Old Town Drive, and the officer followed, turning on his lights to stop the SUV, according to the report.
When the driver stopped the SUV, the officer was informed that the GPS tracker taken from Walmart had stopped moving at that location. The driver allegedly told the officer he had not been at Walmart. But when the man was searched, an AT&T SIM kit was found in his pocket. The man told the officer the kit came from the Walmart in Washington, but he did not have the receipt, the report said.
When the SUV was searched, the officer allegedly found an iPhone X case with a GPS tracking device in it. The officer also discovered the driver was wanted in Franklin County on an outstanding warrant, according to the report.
The GPS device is valued at $400, and the SIM kit is valued at $10, the report said.
The man was arrested and taken to the Police Station, where he refused to answer questions but allegedly said, ‘I’m stupid,” according to the report.
Walmart employees told police they saw the man in the store wearing a company-issued vest. One employee who saw the man behind the electronics counter reported asking the suspect if he was new to the store, the report said.
The man reportedly told the employee he had recently transferred to the Eureka location and left. The employee told the electronics manager about the new employee, but the manager didn’t recognize the suspect and stopped him, asking the man to come to with him to see the store’s personnel manager, according to the report.
The suspect refused to go with the electronics manager and left the store. The suspect then got into the Nissan and drove away, the report said.
The Eureka Municipal Court issued the man a summons for stealing, and he was held for the other law enforcement agency that wanted him, Capt. David Wilson said.