Three Sullivan Residents were arrested in Linton Sunday night, after allegedly stealing from Walmart.
The Linton Police Department received a call at about 9:30 p.m. from a woman who thought she had witnessed a male and female leaving the store with items they had not paid for. She gave the department the couple’s license plate number and said the blue Ford van they were driving was heading north on State Road 54. The caller also reported that she had noticed a black male inside the van prior to it leaving the Walmart parking lot.
The plate number belonged to a blue 2006 Ford registered to ResCare, Inc., and Officer Debbie McDonald Miller requested that the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department watch for the vehicle in their county. She also spoke with a Walmart manager who confirmed that video cameras in the store showed the couple the caller had described leaving the store with a cart full of items they had not paid for.
A short time later, Sullivan County contacted Miller to say they had stopped the van, which contained six people. Sullivan officers took the individuals to the Sullivan County Jail, where Miller met with them.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday, two of the subjects were residents of the Sullivan County ResCare Group Home, and were released to another care giver. Their care giver for that evening was Cristina L. Craig, 19. Also in the van were 18-year-old Jozlyn J. Followell, 19-year-old Dakota W. Carpenter, and another man.
Miller interviewed the four suspects with audio and video recording of the conversations. Carpenter said Craig had called him to ask if he wanted to go to Linton Walmart with her to steal stuff, and that she picked him up in the ResCare van. He also said Craig told him of specific items she wanted, and that he and Followell separated from the others when they arrived at Walmart.
Carpenter allegedly said that items stolen for him included four seat covers, four floor mats, foot pedals, a locking gas cap, four car air fresheners, and various items of clothing. He told Miller that Craig had requested two Betty Boop seat covers, four floor mats, and car air fresheners, and added that Followell’s items consisted of two pairs of yoga pants and two shirts.
Craig said she was working at ResCare when the two residents wanted to go to Walmart and that she called to ask Followell and Carpenter if they wanted to go along with her. She told Miller those two went in one direction in the store, the other man went in another, and she stayed with the two residents. She stated that when she saw Followell and Carpenter near the electronics she put Betty Boop floor mats and seat covers into their cart intending to pay for them but when the two residents became impatient she took them to the van and assumed that Followell and Carpenter put her items back since she had not given them money to pay for them.
Craig said she did not know that they were going to steal the items.
Followell told Miller that Craig invited her and Carpenter to go to Walmart to steal items, and that she got a few shirts and pants, socks, a camo jacket, and a cheetah coffee cup. She said Cristina had put a car battery and an emergency kit into the cart but took them out because it was too heavy for her to push, and that Carpenter selected floor mats and seat covers, clothes, and a camo jacket. She alleged that Craig got Betty Boop floor mats and a steering wheel cover, air fresheners, and a camo jacket.
Followell stated that Craig had gone outside to kind of act like a lookout and added that the last man opened the back doors to the van so they could load the stuff.
That man said he went on the trip to buy baby wipes and that the group had intended to steal from Walmart for about a week, and that on the drive from Sullivan to Linton Craig, Carpenter, and Followell discussed how Carpenter and Followell were going to steal a car battery for Craig. He stated that he paid for his baby wipes and then waited for the others in the van, later opening the back doors of the vehicle for them.
He said that he figured they had stolen the cart full of items.
Carpenter, Craig, and Followell were all charged with theft, a class D felony.