Friday, September 19, 2014

Walmart bust fingers four in drugs, theft case

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 10/28/2013

Four Wichita residents who authorities think might have been trying to return stolen merchandise Sunday evening at Walmart Supercenter in Ottawa were arrested on suspicion of theft and drug possession, Ottawa police said.

Juanita Butler, 45, was arrested 6:07 p.m. by Ottawa police on suspicion of theft and possession of cocaine, according to a police report.

Four Wichita residents who authorities think might have been trying to return stolen merchandise Sunday evening at Walmart Supercenter in Ottawa were arrested on suspicion of theft and drug possession, Ottawa police said.

Juanita Butler, 45, was arrested 6:07 p.m. by Ottawa police on suspicion of theft and possession of cocaine, according to a police report.

Police officers also arrested Tamyl Johnson, 50, on suspicion of possession of marijuana and paraphernalia and on warrants from Wyandotte and Sedgwick counties; Joseph Richard, 50, on suspicion of possession of cocaine, and Deshawn Evan, 38, Wichita, on suspicion of possession of cocaine and paraphernalia, the police report said.

Walmart representatives contacted police Sunday evening when they believed some individuals were trying to return stolen property to the store, 1201 S. Princeton St., Ottawa, Capt. Adam Weingartner, with the Ottawa Police Department, said. In this type of scam, a person will attempt to return stolen merchandise to a store without a receipt or without a proper receipt in an effort to exchange the stolen goods for a cash refund from the store or for store credit to make legitimate purchases, Weingartner said.

Police believe the four suspects were attempting to return merchandise that might have been stolen from other stores or individuals. Officers contacted some of the suspects in the store and others in a vehicle in the parking lot, Weingartner said.

Smelling the odor of drugs when approaching the car, officers obtained a search warrant and searched the seized vehicle and recovered illegal drugs, Weingartner said.

Officers also found Walmart receipts for merchandise from stores as far away as Dallas, Weingartner said.

Johnson and Evan remained in Franklin County Jail, 305 S. Main St., Ottawa, late Monday afternoon awaiting court appearances.

Richard was released from jail on $1,500 bond Monday, and Butler was released from jail Monday afternoon when the county attorney’s office “declined to prosecute” her at this time, according to jail records.

The police investigation is ongoing.

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