OPD: Fort White man blames his 'crack problem' for thefts
Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 12:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 12:14 p.m.
Ocala police say a 42-year-old Fort White man with a criminal record blamed his "crack problem" for thefts from Walmart and Lowe's stores.
Richard James Somers, who is on probation and was wanted for auto theft, faces new charges of retail grand theft and possession of drug paraphernalia. His niece Cortney Somers, 25, also was arrested on a charge of retail grand theft.
On Monday, officers went to an apartment at the Hickory Knoll Apartment complex, 603 NE 22nd Ave., and found Richard James Somers asleep on a coach. He was wearing the same clothing he was seen wearing a Walmart surveillance video, according to an OPD report. In a hallway, officers found two chainsaws, cooking pots and a coffee maker reported stolen from the store.
Somers told officers Robert Cashner and Joshua Hoffmann that he stole the stuff from Walmart for crack cocaine, according to OPD. Police searched him and reported finding a glass pipe, which he said was used to smoke crack.
Somers told the officers that he has “a crack problem,” the report said, and that he also took a chainsaw from Lowe's.
Officers had gone to the apartment after getting a license plate's number and being told a woman was with Somers at the time of the theft.
While officers were there, Cortney Somers showed up. She told officers she was unaware that her uncle was taking the items and that, when she saw what was happening, she ran from Walmart to a nearby gas station, where he picked her up.
She said she didn't know her uncle was taking stuff from Lowe's, according to the OPD report. The woman said she didn't know about the thefts until they left Walmart.
Somers' uncle told police his niece was with him at the time of the thefts.
Police returned the stolen items to the stores.
Richard Somers has a Marion County warrant for grand theft of a motor vehicle. Officials also said he has a Florida parole commission violation for burglary.
State records indicate he's an absconder/fugitive for a third conviction of petit theft, for burglary and for possession of burglary tools. His probation ends November 2014.
He was released from prison in December 2013. Somers has an extensive criminal record, including charges of escape, drug possession and burglary.