(Memphis) On Walmart’s security cameras, he looked like any other shopper rolling a cart out of the store.
But Shelby County detectives said Clayton Cates came to the store with his own Walmart bags and bypassed the registers altogether.
“People make the assumption that it’s paid for. It’s bagged and you are walking out. As the video showed, he picked a checkout close to the center of the store and then walked right through like he came through the checkout area,” said Lt. David Edmonds.
Members of the Sheriff Office’s Area Law Enforcement Retail Team, or ALERT squad, first noticed Cates outside of the store rolling up bags and stuffing them in his pants.
They also saw a stack of new Walmart bags on the floorboard of his car.
In surveillance footage, he can be seen picking up meat items and placing them in his shopping cart.
Detectives said somewhere between the grocery section and the checkout area, he managed to bag his own food without anybody noticing.
“Clearly they are not going to do it in an area where there’s gonna be a lot of people watching,” said Lt. Edmonds.
The department charged 56-year-old Cates with theft of property for stealing more than $600 worth of meat from the store.
They also charged Eric Wilson with theft of property.
Detectives said Wilson helped Cates inside the store, and was seen loading items into Cate’s car.
“He admitted that was what they were doing. It was kind of hard to deny it at that point,” said Lt. Edmond.
Sheriff deputies say this is probably not a new tactic used by shoplifter’s, but they always have to stay a step ahead of them.
They say retail crime costs everyone.