Man tried to get refund for stolen items, GPD says

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 4:01 p.m.

Police arrested a 19-year-old man Tuesday after he reportedly tried to return more than $700 in items he had stolen from Walmart stores for a cash refund at one of the stores.

Earl Houston Rhodes, of Steinhatchee, said he stole several items, including a car radio, from the Southwest Archer Road Walmart and a Walmart in Chiefland, and he intended to sell them for money to travel to Georgia, according to a Gainesville Police Department report.

Rhodes tried to return the items for cash at the Walmart at 3770 SW Archer Road but the refund was denied. An employee told police he saw Rhodes try to return the stolen items, then grab plastic bags from a checkout aisle to conceal the items taken from the store shelves as he was leaving the store, the report stated.

A police officer stopped Rhodes before he could exit the store, and Rhodes said he had not paid for any of the items in his bag. He also said he had more stolen merchandise in his car, the report stated.

In the car was a 17-year-old girl, and Rhodes was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child because he had encouraged her to steal, GPD reported.

Rhodes told the officer that on Monday night he had stolen the items, including a car radio he took out of a glass case. The damage to the display case was estimated at $1,000.

The recovered items, worth a total of $723, were returned to the stores.

Rhodes was arrested on charges of grand theft and scheme to defraud and obtain property, along with the delinquency count, the report stated.

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