Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


December 19, 2013

Walmart beer shoplifter escapes capture

JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville authorities are on the lookout for a Walmart shoplifter who evaded capture Tuesday evening — possibly after wrestling with an asset protection officer in the store's parking lot while carrying several cases of stolen beer.

Jacksonville Police Det. Javier Guerra explained Wednesday he expects to review a videotape of the Tuesday evening incident in which the shoplifter interacted with the Walmart's asset protection officer, who alleges his arm was injured when the suspect grabbed it to prevent him from calling police on his cell phone.

The incident took place  between 6 and 7 p.m. Tuesday, reports show.

Guerra said the question for authorities is if the alleged contact was made. A look at the video should clear this up, he added.

"The asset protection officer said he was injured, but not severely," Guerra said. "The suspect fled the scene, so he gave chase and acquired a viable license plate and description of the vehicle, which was a two-tone silver and blue Chevrolet truck."

Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel said if the suspect used physical force to escape, the crime will be classified as a second-degree felony robbery punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Guerra said if force was not used it will be classified as Class B misdemeanor shoplifting. Guerra said the suspect apparently grabbed the cases of beer and attempted to exit the store through the garden area — past all purchase points.

Jacksonville Police Det. James Oden said the Walmart asset security officer contends that the shoplifter's behavior grew confrontational when he was trying to verbally stop him.

The officer said when he subsequently tried  to call police on his cell that the suspect grabbed his arm, causing him pain and forcing him to

break free.

Derek Schmid, manager at the local Walmart, said he was not at liberty to discuss the matter.

Guerra said he is in the process of investigating the case.

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