Men in women's clothes steal from Wal-Mart

COVINGTON - Three audacious, cross-dressing shoplifters went to Wal-Mart between 1 and 2 a.m. July 3 and left with more than $4,500 in electronics, according to a Covington Police Department incident report.

Completed by Officer David Stewart, the report states that a Wal-Mart employee contacted the CPD, telling them that three men dressed as women entered the store and removed two computers and three televisions without paying.

The store was able to furnish surveillance tape showing the three men loading the items onto shopping cars and taking them into the back room of the electronics department. They were later shown leaving through the auto lube and tire section of the store.

The report said the tape further showed the men loading the merchandise onto a U-Haul truck at the back side of the store.

The items taken were:

· A 32-inch Vizio flat screen/HDTV valued at $597;

· A 42-inch Phillips flat screen/HDTV valued at $1,098;

· A 40-inch Samsung flat screen/HDTV valued at $996;

· Two Dell Computers valued at $998 each.

The value of the stolen items totaled $4,687.

The report states that a member of management confronted the thieves when they were spotted in the store's back room, but let them go.

According to CPD Detective Daniel Seals, it is usually prudent for a civilian to not get into a combative situation with shoplifters.

"In my experience, (store employees) are told not to physically confront the people for safety purposes," he said. "Property is not worth your life or your health."

He said clerks are rather encouraged to be observant, get detailed descriptions and to call the police quickly.

"Because of the quick action of staff and their information given to dispatch, our investigators have good surveillance video and good leads," Seals said. "They did what they are supposed to do and not in a dangerous fashion."

Seals said detectives have some possible suspects in mind and the video will be gone over "frame by frame."

Police ask that anyone with information as to the identity or whereabouts of the suspects in this case to call the CPD at 770-786-7605. Tips can be given to the CPD anonymously by visiting their Web site at www.covingtonpolice.com and clicking on "contact us" and then "secret witness."

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.