17 arrested at Walmart in APD’s latest ‘retail blitz’
A couple Anchorage police say tried to leave a discount store with a stolen nail gun and a man who allegedly tried to drive off in a stolen car were among more than a dozen people arrested this week, in APD’s most recent one-day “retail blitz” to deter shoplifting.
A total of 17 people were taken into custody during the Wednesday operation at the Walmart store on DeBarr Road, police spokesman MJ Thim said in a Friday statement. Store security worked with undercover members of APD’s Investigative Support Unit and Community Action Policing Team to pick up suspects in “various crimes including theft and drugs.”
Here’s a look at some of those cases, according to Thim:
Rendy Ripple, 28, and Direll Harris, 30, had “selected an air nail gun, concealed it and exited the store” before officers tried to stop them. At that point, “Ripple resisted arrest and ran on foot through the parking lot in an attempt to escape. Officers caught Ripple in the parking lot and arrested her.” Harris was arrested without incident; both were charged with burglary and theft, with Ripple also facing a count of resisting arrest.
Undercover officers in the parking lot spotted a stolen vehicle, which 37-year-old Jeffrey Estrada started to drive away. “Members of ISU and CAP attempted to block the vehicle. Estrada tried to drive out of the blocking technique; officers pinned the stolen vehicle in.” Estrada tried to run away, but was arrested on charges of theft, vehicle theft, resisting arrest and reckless endangerment.
Walmart employees encountered a “prior theft suspect,” a 15-year-old boy with his mother who “had previously been trespassed from Walmart for theft.” Police arrested the teen and released the mother with a trespass warning.
Matthew Lee, 34, was arrested on burglary, theft and trespassing charges due to being “previously trespassed from Walmart.” Another trespassing suspect, 33-year-old Zachari Clark, was arrested after being recognized by employees as “a frequent shoplifter and someone that had previously been trespassed from all Walmart stores.”
Jason Premo, 41, was arrested for misconduct involving controlled substances after he “was contacted regarding a possible fraudulent return of merchandise and was found to be in possession of methamphetamine.”
Two people arrested for second-degree theft, 35-year-old Lorelle Sifsof and 26-year-old Wassillie Johnston, were found to be in possession of credit cards belonging to other people. Officers had stopped Sifsof, who had been trespassed from the store, to give a warning; Johnston had concealed merchandise.
Brandon Bahr, 34, was arrested for fourth-degree theft after he “consumed food while inside of Walmart and did not pay for the items.”
Seven people were arrested on charges of shoplifting items after police said they tried to conceal them:
Kevin Clark, 26
Vance Decker, 55
Natasha Douglas, 32
Virginia Haley, 25
David Huestis, 38
Sarah Raymer, 34
Jacob Snyder, 23
Wednesday’s arrests follow a model from Outside law enforcement first employed by APD in December to make half a dozen arrests at the Abbott Road Fred Meyer. Officers characterized the sweep as an attempt to combat increasing levels of shoplifting, as well as greater violence employed by shoplifters.
Alaska State Troopers used similar tactics to arrest nine people at the Wasilla Fred Meyer on Jan. 26, including seven adults and two juveniles all charged with theft.
Scott Jensen contributed information to this story
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