Local arrests linked to shoplifting ring

Local arrests linked to shoplifting ring

Posted: Monday, July 21, 2008 11:04 pm

Two Arkansas women have been arrested on conspiracy and theft charges in an alleged shoplifting ring that included a Union City department store. Demetrius Darnette Davis, 30, of 141 Gosnell St., Apt. A, Gosnell, Ark., and Toja Renee Blair, 32, of 220 Lakewood St., Blytheville, Ark., were arrested at 8:44 p.m. Tuesday at County Marketplace at 1700 West Reelfoot Ave. in Union City on charges of conspiracy to commit theft over $1,000 and theft over $1,000, according to Union City Police Department reports. Police were initially called to the JCPenney store at County Marketplace in reference to an alleged shoplifting that had just occurred. The suspects were reported to be outside on a bench in front of the store, with the store’s night manager reporting that there had been three girls who had since separated. In addition, the manager told police she had seen one of the girls walk into a nearby restaurant and she alleged this girl was the suspect whom she had seen place items into a big black purse. An officer went to the restaurant and spoke with Ms. Blair, who reportedly wanted to return to JCPenney to see what she was accused of stealing. On the way back, they came in contact with a 30-year-old Blytheville woman who was asking what she had done. After the officer and Ms. Blair arrived back at the store, a citizen came in and asked if police were looking for another girl because she had seen a female, who was carrying several clothing items, run behind the building, according to the report. Police looked and did not find the woman but found a bag filled with $252.18 in items from JCPenney and $73 in items from the nearby Maurice’s store. Another woman — initially identified as a Dee Dee Johnson but later identified as Ms. Davis — was present when the officer who had gone to JCPenney rejoined other officers in the area. Ms. Blair reportedly showed police all of her receipts but denied officers consent to search her vehicle. While talking with her, though, police noticed three large bags from JCPenney in the back, along with a big black purse that appeared to be empty. When asked about them, she said she did not know about them. Police reported they saw a belt with a JCPenney tag inside a bag and Ms. Blair did not have a receipt for it, which resulted in her indicating that it must belong to one of the other girls. Police spoke to the woman initially identified as Ms. Johnson and she said she had not bought anything, according to the report. When asked why she went behind the building, she had no answer but later said she had put items behind the building and that was all she had taken, according to the reports. She was arrested at that time. Based on what the store official told police and the items in plain sight in the vehicle, Ms. Blair was also placed into custody. The other Blytheville woman, who apparently was not charged, told police she was just along for the ride and did not know about the items in the vehicle. A search of the vehicle resulted in police’s finding $1,877.22 worth of clothing that was confirmed to have been taken from JCPenney, according to the reports. At the county jail, the woman initially identified as Ms. Johnson gave police a statement indicating they had taken items from Blytheville’s JCPenney store and brought them to Union City to exchange them for gift cards. Ms. Blair reportedly gave a written statement indicating they had come to Union City to steal items from JCPenney. She told police they take orders from people wanting things, go to steal them and re-sell items at a reduced cost, according to the reports. Police asked her about her partner, Ms. Johnson, and Ms. Blair allegedly told them she was the main suspect involved and was lying about her name. She told them the woman’s real name is Demetrius Davis, that items are sold from her house and that they had not gone to any other JCPenney store. After a long search, police found out that Ms. Johnson’s real name is Demetrius Davis and that she has “a long history” with several false names and false dates of birth, according to the reports. Ms. Davis was brought back and gave police another statement. She allegedly confirmed that she takes orders and sells, gives or keeps the items she takes, also telling police she came to Union City for the sole purpose of stealing from JCPenney and allegedly admitting to doing this several times, police reported. In addition to the conspiracy and theft charges, Ms. Davis was also charged with filing a false report and criminal impersonation since she was initially booked at the jail under a false name and gave a statement under a false name, according to the reports. Plus, Ms. Davis was charged with theft in connection with the alleged taking of items from Maurice’s, police reported. Published in The Messenger 7.21.08

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