Several DeLand police officers converged on a discount store the night of May 9 regarding a report of shoplifting. (Which raises the question, why would you shoplift at a discount store?)

Two store employees told the officers that a man and a woman stole items and then headed east on bicycles.

Police stopped a man and a woman with bicycles a little ways east of the store matching the descriptions provided by the store employees.

One of the employees said she had seen the male inside the store holding an item in his hand, and then putting the item into his pants. However, the Alleged Shoplifter “claimed that he had gotten rid of all of the stolen items from the store prior to leaving the store.”

Alleged Shoplifter told the officers they could search his backpack, but he mentioned that he thought the backpack contained needles. An officer performing the search found “a small, pink plastic bag with a brown substance inside of the front compartment of the backpack.”

A search of the Alleged Shoplifter himself produced “a glass pipe with a brown and black substance in it.”

The substances in the bag and in the glass pipe tested presumptive positive for heroin.

Alleged Shoplifter was charged with — you guessed it! — petit theft from a merchant, which is a misdemeanor, and possession of narcotic paraphernalia, another misdemeanor. But he was also charged with another narcotics offense, which the police report says is a felony.

And as I asked earlier, why would you shoplift at a discount store? If you’re going to steal, doesn’t it make sense to do so at a store with high-end merchandise? Either way, it’s a crime, and you might get caught, so why get caught taking stuff that has little value?!

OK, you’re right: Grand theft has more severe penalties than petit theft. But the dividing line in Florida is $750. So you could steal merchandise whose total value is a little less than $750, and if you were caught, you’d only be charged with a misdemeanor.

Or, you could scrupulously avoid taking stuff without paying. It’s a thought.

But if you do go somewhere planning to steal, don’t bring your drugs or glass pipe!

— 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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