Theodosia Dollar General employee accused of stealing $16,000 in items
A Theodosia Dollar General employee was scheduled to be arraigned by Associate Circuit Judge Cynthia MacPherson Tuesday after he was arrested Sunday in connection with accusations that he helped multiple people take as much as $16,000 worth of merchandise over a five-month period.
Kenneth Smith, 53, of Theodosia, is being held in the Ozark County Jail on a $25,000 cash-only bond and is charged with stealing.
According to a probable cause statement prepared by Ozark County Sheriff’s Deputy and evidence investigator Cpl. Curtis Dobbs, a regional manager over the Theodosia Dollar General Store called the officer to report that they believed an employee was stealing and assisting others in removing several carts full of items from the Theodosia store. Dobbs met with the Dollar General store manager, who showed him surveillance video footage taken at the store between Feb. 10 and March 5.
The probable cause statement details three specific different incidents in which Smith reportedly aided acquaintances in taking items from the store and in return was slipped money. The first incident, filmed at 8:40 p.m. Feb. 10, reportedly shows Smith allowing a man to take a cart full of merchandise out the front doors, the statement says. After a brief period, the man is seen returning to the store with an empty cart, refilling another cart with more merchandise from the store and leaving through the front doors again. On the video, he returns through the front doors a second time with the cart empty, the statement says. A woman accompanying the man fills another cart and leaves the store with Smith’s assistance, the statement says.
The second incident, recorded on video at 9:31 p.m., less than an hour after the man and woman left with three carts full of merchandise, reportedly shows Smith with a customer at the store’s register. Smith scans some of the items the customer places on the register belt, the statement says, but other items are passed to the bag without being scanned. The result is that the total cost to the customer was “significantly less than the cost of the transaction,” according to the probable cause statement. The customer then picks up an item in his right hand and gives it to Smith, who places it in his left pocket.
The third incident, filmed at 7:14 p.m. on Feb. 17, reportedly shows a woman, later identified as Smith’s female companion, leaving the store with a cart full of items. Smith reportedly charges the woman for just a few of the items that were taken, and she reportedly hands $20 to Smith. The statement says there are “many” other filmed transactions with the woman where Smith allows her to leave the store without paying for full carts full of merchandise.
Dobbs wrote that, in addition to these three individuals, several other unidentified men and women are seen removing shopping carts full of items from the store, meeting with Smith inside the store or outside in the parking lot. The statement says that on some occasions, Smith is seen distracting other Dollar General employees while the suspects leave with carts full of items without paying.
On March 9, Dobbs interviewed the first man in the video, and the man reportedly told the officer that Smith approached him when he was in the store and told him he would give him “a deal” if he would give Smith cash “on the side.” The man said it happened on many occasions, and he usually paid Smith $5 or $10 each time, the statement says. The man said he had received over $300 worth of merchandise without paying in the past three months.
On March 10, Dobbs contacted Smith’s female companion, who told the officer she removed items from the Dollar General store with Smith’s assistance.
The manager who met with Dobbs told the officer that store personnel believe more than $3,250 worth of merchandise was taken from Feb. 10 to March 5. Other witnesses and individuals who took the items with Smith’s assistance say Smith had been assisting them in stealing merchandise from the Theodosia Dollar General from November 2017 through March 2018. The estimated amount of merchandise stolen during the five-month period is estimated to be $16,250, the statement says.
Ozark County Sheriff Darrin Reed said the investigation in the case is ongoing and it is likely that others will be charged in connection with the incidents.