An alleged scheme to steal merchandise from Walmart and resell it at pawnshops and other businesses has led to charges against six Mount Airy residents and the recovery of property including an above-ground swimming pool at their home.
Thousands of dollars’ worth of items such as air-conditioners, Blu-ray players, computer equipment and GPS units were taken from the store and sold from early July until shortly before the arrest of the six people this week, city police said.
The thefts were spearheaded by three female members of the group, according to Brandon Davis, a detective with the Mount Airy Police Department.
“They were just putting these items in their buggy and waiting for the right moment to just push them out the door,” Davis explained. “This had been going on since the first of July.”
The investigation of what police are terming an “organized retail theft” led to felony charges against the six people who live together at 248 E. Lebanon St.
• Emily Nicole Harris, 19, who is charged with organized retail theft, felony larceny, felonious possession of stolen goods, obtaining property by false pretense and attempting to obtain property by false pretense;
• Brittany Ann Monnett, 19, charged with organized retail theft, felony larceny, felonious possession of stolen goods and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense;
• Jaron Leon Richard Roberts, 21, organized retail theft, obtaining property by false pretense, possession of stolen property and three counts of conspiring to obtain property by false pretense;
• Katie Danielle Cribb, 24, obtaining property by false pretense and conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense;
• Della Taylor Harris, 41, the mother of Emily Nicole Harris, who is charged with organized retail theft, conspiracy to commit felony larceny, possession of stolen goods/property, conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense and obtaining property by false pretense;
• Eddie Dean Wilson Jr., 27, organized retail theft, conspiracy to obtain property by false pretense and two counts each of possession of stolen property and obtaining property by false pretense.
“They sold some of these items at Mullins Pawn Shop, Ayers Trading Post and Game Stop here in Mount Airy,” the detective said. Police records show at least one unsuccessful attempt to sell merchandise, at Game Stop, in addition to the actual transactions.
“Basically, this originated with a larceny report at Walmart on July 10,” said Davis. He added that Officer S.C. Darrell actually made the arrests in the case, with the city detective unit assisting with a search of the East Lebanon Street residence and other facets of the investigation.
Surveillance videos were taken of the larceny reported on July 10, but none of the suspects could be identified initially.
A breakthrough came when a loss-prevention employee at Walmart received a tip as to one of the women’s identity, which led to the others being implicated.
“They have admitted to several larcenies from Walmart,” Davis said.
“They came in together (to the police station) and turned themselves in together,” he added of the six people accused.
“Quite a bit of the items we were able to recover from their home and turn back over to Walmart,” the detective said. “One of the items we recovered from their home was an above-ground swimming pool.”
He described it as a “snap-together” pool, the largest Walmart sells, which had been set up at the suspects’ residence.
Davis said they told him that the scheme to resell the merchandise was perpetrated in order to get money “to pay bills.”
Police records show that all but one of the suspects, Della Taylor Harris, was confined in the Surry County Jail on secured bonds ranging from $1,000 to $3,333. She was freed under a $5,000 unsecured bond.
All six are to appear in Surry District Court on Aug. 29.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.