Civic-minded citizens DO still exist – especially here in Cherokee County.
Two alert women who noticed something that seemed a bit “suspicious” taking place in the Wal-Mart parking lot Tuesday night dialed 9-1-1 to inform law enforcement of the situation
The women stated that they witnessed a female placing groceries into a silver van however none of the items were in bags – they were simply piled up in the shopping cart.
They also reported that the van was leaving the lot, heading back into town.
Centre Police Officer Bobby Winters was dispatched to try and locate the vehicle, which he soon did, near Nichols Animal Hospital.
Officer Winters, assisted by Officer Daniel Wooten, pulled the van over and spoke with the occupants, two women and one man; they found various grocery and clothing items inside the van – none of which were in shopping bags – exactly as reported by the witnesses.
45 year old Donna Lawson Shelton, of Piedmont, was taken back to the Centre Wal-Mart – where the surveillance footage was reviewed – showing her walking out of the store with a buggy filled with merchandise without having paid for it. Apparently, Wal-Mart personnel were unaware at that point that the incident had even occurred.
After seeing the footage, Shelton confessed.
She was placed under arrest on charges of Theft of Property 2nd Degree, and she was later charged with Failure to Appear on the prior charges of Driving while License Revoked, and Operating a Motor Vehicle without Insurance.
It was also discovered she was wanted on other warrants, including one out of Jacksonville for shoplifting.
It was later determined that Shelton had left the Wal-Mart – with more than $600 worth of stolen merchandise, and had it not been for the two witnesses, she would likely have gotten away with it.
Remember, if you see something suspicious – do the right thing and report it to authorities.
Stolen merchandise results in higher prices for everyone.