Employees chase shoplifter as he flees

SAFFORD – Last Sunday at approximately 11:30 p.m., Graham County dispatch was alerted that a man had fled Walmart and had possible shoplifted video game controllers.

When a Safford police officer arrived, he was told that an employee noticed a man acting suspiciously in the electronics department. The employee notified management of the situation and a manager went to the electronics department to check out the situation. The manager located the suspicious man and watched him forcibly remove two X-Box game controllers off of a locked display rack. The manager confronted the man and asked him to walk with him to the loss prevention office. While they walked toward the office, the suspect fled the store with several employees following. The suspect ran into the parking lot and drove away in a green-colored vehicle.

The suspect apparently left the game controllers in the electronics department along with his cell phone. In the loss prevention office, the officer was shown video footage of the alleged shoplifter forcibly removing the two game controllers from the locking display by yanking down on the controllers.

The officer took custody of the cell phone and went to the listed address of the alleged shoplifter. As the officer approached the residence he saw the suspect walking away from his location. The officer called out to the suspect, asking if he could talk to him. The suspect picked up his pace and walked out of sight behind another residence. The officer talked to the resident, who gave permission to search the yard but the suspect was not there. Other officers responded and started patrolling the area. The suspect was apprehended in a nearby apartment complex.

The suspect was taken to the Safford Police Department where he was advised of his Miranda rights. When asked if he understood his rights he initially responded, “sort of,” but then confirmed that he understood his rights. The officer showed the suspect pictures of him in the store and asked if he was the man in the pictures. The man admitted that it was him in the photographs. The man was cited and released for shoplifting. The officer returned the man’s cell phone that had been left in the store when he abandoned the merchandise.

The game controllers were damaged and will not be able to be sold. The total value of both game controllers was $43.38.