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Pair arrested for shop vac theft at Wal-Mart

A 48-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman were arrested last week at the Port Orchard Wal-Mart store after a security guard spotted the pair attempting to pass off a shop vac they didn’t pay for as a return.

The male suspect was charged with one count of trafficking in stolen property and booked into Kitsap County Jail under $10,000 bail.

The female suspect — who originally gave police a false name — was charged with one count of trafficking in stolen property and one count of obstructing law enforcement.

She was booked into jail under $20,000 bail.

According to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department incident report, a security guard at the Wal-Mart on Bethel Road in South Kitsap witnessed the suspects enter the store together, then separate.

The guard said he saw the woman put a shop vac on the cart, then leave it. He said the man then pushed the cart to the return desk and tried to exchange the item with a receipt. The cashier, as instructed, gave the suspect $51.88 for the appliance, who then pushed his cart to the checkstands to pay for other items in the cart.

The security guard said he then stopped the suspect, who argued and tried to pull away when he tried to detain him. The guard put the suspect in his office and called police.

The guard also informed the deputy that he believed the male suspect — whom he said was arrested for computer theft in Pierce County and banned from Wal-Mart stores there — was a member of a trio responsible for numerous computer thefts from Wal-Marts in Kitsap County totaling $20,000.

The guard said the female suspect — who had left the store by the time the deputy arrived — and a second man, who had been asked to leave the store earlier that day and whose Washington State ID card was found in the suspect’s shirt by the arresting deputy, were the other two people involved in the computer thefts.

According to the report, the male suspect admitted to the deputy that the woman he was with — his roommate — put the shop vac in his cart, and he was going to return the item for cash and buy other items.

He also admitted the man whose ID he had was also his roommate, and that man had accompanied the pair to the store but did not go inside.

Later that night, the deputy visited the trio’s residence — which he learned they had been evicted from and ordered to leave by midnight — and discovered a female matching the description of the suspect from the Wal-Mart.

When first questioned, she denied being involved with the incident, but when the deputy told her the security guard saw and identified her, she admitted to helping the male suspect.

After placing her under arrest for trafficking, the deputy discovered the first name she identified herself as was false, because that person was listed as convicted felon with a different birthdate than the one she gave and a middle name, when the suspect claimed there was none.

Before transporting the suspect to jail, the deputy learned the license plate tabs on her car were from another car, and those listed for her car were expired.

He removed both license plates and confiscated them.

Once they arrived at the jail, the deputy informed the suspect she would be detained until her identity was established.

Within minutes, the suspect admitted she lied and gave her name, which was identified as her, and the first name as one of her many aliases.

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