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Dollar General employee accused of pocketing $20,000 in gift cards

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Records show Dollar General employee Corderious Booker, 20, would take Visa gift cards at work, load them up with $500 and pretend to put cash in the register, but really never pay.

Instead, police said he took home multiple gift cards since November 11, totaling more than $20,200 from the Lamar Avenue store.

“He should be locked up," said store shopper Edmond Horne.

That’s exactly what happened when the store’s risk management director called police.

Booker is now in Shelby County jail, facing a charge of theft of property between $10,000 and $60,000.

“I won’t go along with that at all. I won’t steal nothing. Not even a popsicle," said Horne.

But one University of Memphis professor thinks Booker's mug shot tells a deeper story.

“We are back to being the poorest, largest metro area in the country," said Elena Delavega, associate professor of social work.

Stores like Dollar General pay minimum wage, which is not enough for employees to achieve the "American dream," said Delavega.

“Assuming a person can work full time, it’s a paycheck of $240 per week,” she said. “There is a promise in this country that if you work hard you’ll be able to make it and won’t be in poverty but for a lot of people, working hard is less and less resulting in not being in poverty,” she said.

In fact, police said Booker admitted to what he did; he’d use the cards to buy things to help out his family.

Professor Delevega said companies should pay a living wage to give employees incentive to work hard to be able to fully provide.