Police say new trend for thieves is 'stuff and run'

'Junk in the trunk' could be shoplifted items

Rockdale police have a warning for area business people that may sound funny, even silly, but is absolutely serious.

Watch out for anyone wearing more than one pair of pants.

Last week police made their second arrest in less than a month involving a person stuffing shoplifted merchandise down their pants.

Luther James Waddell, 37, of Rockdale was charged with theft (under $1,500) with two prior convictions after an incident at Dollar General.

He remains in custody on $10,000 bond.

"He had two MP3 players and seven or eight bottles of lotion in his pants," Newlin said. "And he was wearing four layers of clothing, what amounted to four pair of pants."

Two weeks ago police arrested another man who was chased out of Brookshire Bros. and cornered by store manager Jerry Pulley.

That suspect was clad in pajama pants. Police found $70 worth of merchandise stuffed into the pants.

"This has become the latest trend among shoplifters," Newlin said. "They will wear loose-fitting pants that can be secured around the ankles, then drop the shoplifted merchandise into their pants."

"It doesn't show and they walk out the door," he said. "You can get a lot of stuff that way."

Waddell's arrest was ironic, to say the least.

"The store manager had actual- ly come to the police department to ask what they could do about Mr. Waddell," Newlin said.

"They were prett y sure he was shoplifting items, they had surveillance video but it wasn't definite enough for any charges," he said.

"Finally she asked if we could put something like a criminal trespass order on him so he couldn't come in the store," Newlin said.

The two went to Dollar General and Waddell was outside.

"He started to go back in the store and I got suspicious," Newlin said. "I searched him and found the MP3 players and the other merchandise."

"I don't think too many business people are aware yet that this is the new technique for shoplifting," Newlin said.

"Seriously, if you see people in your store with more than one pair of pants, or with pants tied off around their ankles, keep an eye on them," he said.

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2009-11-05 digital edition

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