Judd: Thieves stole more than $178,000 from Walmart stores across the region

Posted at 6:08 PM, Aug 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-18 18:07:59-04

For nearly two years, a group of thieves stole from Walmart stores all over the state of Florida and beyond, pocketing more than $178,000 worth of electronics, according to investigators.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation after receiving a complaint from Walmart and shoplifters.

They found it to be anything but a typical shoplifting case.

“Please don’t call these people shoplifters,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “These are experienced criminals and they are organized to steal.”

Judd said his team of detectives found that seven men and women went from store to store and stole high-toned electronics by often times stuffing them in a diaper box, and then only paying for the diapers.

The trick worked for them for at least two years, as they resold the items on the street or on Craigslist.

“They were making a lot of money, but ask them how it’s working for them today,” Judd said.

Four of the suspected thieves are sitting in jail, but deputies are still searching for three others from the Jacksonville area.

They’re offering a $2,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of Vincenia Tumblin, 26, Ke’Chelle Roberts, 23, and Arkeem Woods, 23.

“Keep your sticky fingers out of the store. Or you’re going to jail, and we don’t have anything to steal there except orange jumpsuits,” Judd said.

All seven suspects are facing serious felony charges of racketeering through the state-wide prosecutors office, a division of the Florida Attorney General’s Office.