Ga. man arrested on drug charges, suspected in retail thefts

Published: Friday, January 27, 2012 at 10:50 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 27, 2012 at 10:50 a.m.

Investigators said they suspect a man arrested outside The Oaks Mall Thursday afternoon had been taking orders for clothing and then stealing the requested items from stores at the mall and elsewhere.

However, the man was picked up on other charges.

Leroy Man Palmer, 37, of Lithonia, Ga., was arrested by the Gainesville Police Department on charges of bringing counterfeit currency into the state, possession of marijuana and possession of a prescription drug without a prescription.

Officer Derek Tirado wrote in an arrest report that he caught up with Palmer after Belk employees refused to allow Palmer to return two Polo brand shirts and a pair of Polo pants because he did not have a receipt.

According to Tirado, Palmer agreed to have his vehicle searched. Officers said they found marijuana, six penicillin tablets wrapped in plastic, $3,281 in currency, a counterfeit $50 bill that Palmer said he received in Georgia, and many items of new clothing with the tags still attached.

The search also included a look at the three cellphones found in the car.

On one of the phones, Tirado said police found "text messages from people requesting certain sizes and colors of clothing for (Palmer) to obtain."

In an arrest report, Tirado wrote that "it appears the defendant is engaged in organized retail crime. However, the defendant never admitted to being involved in such activity."

Palmer told police the clothing were items he bought or had received from his fiancee as gifts.

Palmer remained at the Alachua County jail on Friday.

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