A Safford Police officer was dispatched to Walmart last Wednesday at approximately 2:15 p.m. in reference to a shoplifting incident. When the officer arrived, the suspect, identified as Gavin Clonts, was already in custody inside the loss prevention office. A Safford detective was already on scene for another matter and turned Clonts over to the officer. Clonts had stated that he had a syringe in his possession. The officer placed him in handcuffs and searched him incident to his arrest. Clonts told him the needle was in his left front pocket and that he had a piece of rope in his right front pocket. He told the officer that he has a drug addiction and the rope was used as a tourniquet for injecting methamphetamine.
When asked for his version of what happened in the store, Clonts said that his girlfriend gave him a cart full of items to push out of the store. He said that she had a receipt in her hand so he suspected she had already paid for the items. He said that he was initially going to leave through the tire and lube entrance but then went back to the garden entrance to wait for his girlfriend.
The officer asked why he would do that and asked Clonts to be fully honest. Clonts then said that he suspected that the items were stolen and knew that his girlfriend did not have the money to pay for them. He told the officer that he never actually left the store with the items and was confronted by store employees before he could leave.
The store’s loss prevention officers had a slightly different story. They said that Clonts had a cart full of unpaid items and first tried to leave the store at the tire & lube exit, then at the garden exit. He passed the point of sale at both locations. The officer was shown surveillance footage of Clonts taking these actions. Loss prevention asked that Clonts be trespassed from the store because he had previously been employed there and should know better. According to the loss prevention officers, Clonts used to frequently boast about stealing from the store when he was employed there, but was never caught in the act.
The officer told Clonts that he was going to issue him a criminal citation and release him. Clonts, however, asked if he could be booked into the jail instead. He told the officer that he had no way to pay the court fines and would probably not show up for court. He also said that the jail would allow him to detox from methamphetamine and allow him a better chance to stay off of drugs in the future.
He was transported to the Graham County Jail and booked for shoplifting and possession of drug paraphernalia.