PALESTINE, Texas (KETK) – Three people were arrested in Palestine and charged in connection to organized retail crime.
On Wednesday, Palestine police officers received a call about a suspicious person at the Walmart at 2223 S. Loop 256. Walmart asset protection reported that a man suspected in recent thefts at Walmarts in Tyler, Jacksonville and other local stores had entered the businesses.
The man was suspected to have taken part in “cash cash” scams.
“These scams are accomplished through manipulation of the register systems using cash cards and social engineering,” according to Palestine police. “The result is a transaction where the register believes it is receiving cash while the offender falsely attempts to pay with a cash card. The result is that the offender leaves with unpaid merchandise. These items are then commonly returned under false pretenses.”
Sergeant A. Rodriguez, Corporal Y. Durbin, Officer F. Crimbring and Walmart asset protection reportedly watched the man complete a scam transaction then try to exit with $1,500 in stolen goods.
Officers arrested the man, who they said provided a Michigan ID card that they later learned was a false identity. Officers identified the man as 24-year-old Keiyon Williams, who was wanted in New Hampshire and New Jersey on charges related to organized retail crime. Officers said he was on federal supervised release pending court on a similar charge.
They reportedly found Williams’ accomplice in a car in the parking lot and identified him as Mantee Davis II, who police said just finished a fake return of stolen merchandize worth roughly $500 before returning to his vehicle. Police also allegedly found a bag of marijuana in the car’s center console, and items in the trunk they believe were stolen from other Walmart location.
A third suspect, identified by police as 25-year-old Dondrick Richardson, is accused of abandoning his attempt at a “cash cash” scam in the store’s jewelry section and exited the business.
“Through coordinated efforts, Officers were able to track Richardson as he ducked around and behind vehicles while moving through the parking lot away from the store,” police said. “Sergeant A. Rodriguez took him into custody before he could escape.”
Officers said Richardson had warrants from Florida, Georgia and Minnesota related to organized retail crime and other forms of theft.
All three were taken into custody for engaging in organized criminal activity and possession of marijuana. Richardson was also charged with evading arrest/detention and Williams was charged with failure to identify/fugitive intent to give false info. All three were taken to the Anderson County Jail and booked without incident.
More cases are expected to be filed, “as numerous offenses have been linked to the suspects in several different jurisdictions, totaling thousands of dollars in loss,” according to police.