CONYERS — An alleged habitual shoplifter at Walmart in Conyers who would apparently simply walk out of the store with unpaid merchandise in a shopping cart has been arrested and charged with theft by shoplifting.
Otis James, 55, of 922 Curry Circle, was arrested on Sept. 30, after a loss prevention officer at Walmart on Dogwood Drive reportedly saw James steal two items.
According to the incident report completed by Conyers Police Department Officer Stephen McGinnis, the loss prevention officer saw James take a scooter from the bicycle section of the store and place it in his buggy along with a portable power station.
“(The loss prevention officer) advised he watched Otis continue to walk around the store and eventually walk out of the General Merchandise exit, past all points of sale, with both items in his buggy,” McGinnis reported.
When the Walmart employee confronted James, James acted as though he were looking for his receipt and then said the receipt was in his truck in the parking lot.
James then left the merchandise near the exit and got in his truck and drove away, according to the incident report.
CPD Capt. Jack Dunn saw James traveling down Dogwood Drive toward Salem Road and attempted to pull him over. James, however, continued onto Salem Road and then onto Interstate 20 heading west before finally stopping near the bottom of the Ga. Highway 138 off ramp, according to the incident report.
James was transported back to Walmart because the loss prevention officer told Sgt. McGinnis that James had been involved in numerous shoplifting incidents at the store.
“(The loss prevention officer) stated that Otis had stolen from Walmart so many times that the store recently had to lock down and secure numerous high-dollar items in the garden section of the store to make it more difficult for Otis to steal the items,” the report states.
Among the shoplifting incidents in which James has been accused are:
• On Aug. 28, two customers standing outside the main entrance to Walmart witnessed James pushing a shopping cart full of merchandise he allegedly had not paid for past them into the parking lot. The witnesses reported seeing James place the items into his truck and then James approached them and began bragging about the theft, according to the incident report.
Police reported that a review of the surveillance video from that day showed James load 10 bottles of Tide laundry detergent into a shopping cart, as well as a king-sized comforter set and an iron. James was reportedly seen pushing the shopping cart past all points of sale and out of the store’s General Merchandise exit.
• On Sept. 14, James was seen via surveillance video grabbing a black smoker grill from the garden center and then casually pulling it through the garden center exit, according to police reports. He allegedly placed the grill in the back of his truck and drove away.
• On Sept. 21, James was seen via surveillance video place a ceramic grill in his shopping cart, then exit through the garden center into the parking lot and place the grill in his pickup truck, according to police. James was then seen returning to the garden center where he took a bicycle and wheeled it out into the parking lot, according to the incident report. After placing it in the truck, James was then seen driving away.
• On Sept. 28, James was again seen via surveillance video allegedly pushing a shopping cart loaded with store merchandise through the garden center exit and into the parking lot where he placed the items in the back of his pickup truck. He, along with a woman who was seen earlier distracting a greeter in the garden center, got into the truck and drove away.
The amount James is alleged to have stolen in these incidents is approximately $900.
James was arrested on Sept. 30 and charged with shoplifting as well as possession of drug-related objects, possession of cocaine, and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.