LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man and woman suspected of stealing nearly $4,000 worth of merchandise from a Lowe’s and Home Depot in Lakeland.
The investigation began when loss prevention personnel from the stores contacted the sheriff’s office about a series of organized retail thefts that occurred on three different occasions.
The sheriff’s office said on April 22, security footage from a Lowe’s in Lakeland shows 44-year-old Shenicka Whittington walk out of the store without paying for $552 worth of Yeti coolers.
On May 21, deputies said Whittington was seen walking out of the same Lowe’s store with several more Yeti brand items worth $210.
Detectives responded to a Home Depot in Lakeland Friday after being alerted that Whittington exited the store with a shopping cart of more merchandise that was unpaid for. The sheriff’s office said her boyfriend, 55-year-old Joseph Lamar, was standing next to a vehicle waiting for her.
Through witness statements and video surveillance, detectives said they learned Whittington and Lamar had entered the Home Depot three times Friday. They allegedly removed fuel boxes, a gas pressure washer, chainsaws, a reciprocating saw, bluetooth headphones, and other items totaling $3,028.
Lamar was charged with coordinated retail theft. His criminal history includes 17 felonies and 18 misdemeanors, which includes four prior theft convictions, the sheriff’s office said.
Whittington was also charged with coordinated retail theft. Her criminal history includes 41 felonies and 34 misdemeanors.
“Retail theft is not a victimless crime,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “It hurts businesses and consumers in the wallet. We are holding these thieves accountable – they are both career criminals. Just one look at the long list of charges, and the fact that Whittington is already on probation for the same thing, and you know they have no respect for the judicial system. These are serious crimes and there will be serious consequences.”
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