PHOTO COURTESY STEVEN GROVES, FLICKR Well, it's not a ham sandwich, but this BLT looks pretty tasty, too.

A 34-year-old man was caught shoplifting in late November at a grocery store in DeLand.

The store’s loss-prevention officer saw the guy pushing one of the grocery’s shopping carts through the store and hiding some items of produce in a black shopping bag.

The sticky-fingered fellow went to a self-checkout lane but handed some of the items in his cart to a cashier to return to the shelves. He then left the store with his shopping cart still containing these unpaid-for groceries: a bag of ham, a bag of colby Jack cheese, a bag of turkey, and a case of Ensure nutritional drinks (total value: $29.85).

So was this guy desperate to make a sandwich? You might think so — one of the items he pilfered was a loaf of bread. But the bread (and a steak) were the products he gave to a cashier before leaving.

Maybe he had bread (and mayonnaise) at his residence. Except that it appears this gentleman is a transient. So where could he keep mayonnaise cold enough to avoid food poisoning?

Anyway, Volusia County sheriff’s deputies who were already at the grocery store placed Sticky Fingers under arrest.

He told the deputies that he had purchased the goods in his cart at the grocery store earlier in the day, then went to a discount store elsewhere in DeLand, and then returned to the grocery store, where he was being arrested.

But Sticky Fingers had no receipt to prove he ever paid for the cold cuts and Ensure.

However, he had opened the proverbial can of worms on himself, because his shopping cart contained a number of items that were from the discount store. These included tank-top shirts, socks, and a body-care kit.

So one of the deputies went to the discount store where Sticky Fingers said he’d shopped earlier in the day. That store’s employees hadn’t noticed Sticky Fingers stealing stuff there, but the deputy had them look at their video surveillance, and, sure enough, there was Sticky slipping a number of items into his sweatshirt pocket and exiting without paying.

And yes, the discount store wished to pursue criminal charges, so Sticky Fingers was arrested on two separate counts of petit theft.

On top of all that, when the lawmen checked Sticky’s criminal history, they learned he’d already been convicted of retail theft three times. Therefore, although the value of the items he stole from the two stores was small, he was charged with felonies, and taken to jail.

Maybe this fellow without a home will actually get some rest, health care and good nutrition while he’s incarcerated.

— By Keith Allen, based on local police-agency reports. If you have information about a crime, call Crime Stoppers, 1-888-277-TIPS. You could be eligible for a reward.


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