Thursday, December 17th, 2009
Celina police heads up theft investigation
By William Kincaid
Celina Police Department is the lead enforcement agency investigating possible thefts at Walmart stores in the Celina, Lima, Findlay, Sidney and Piqua areas, Police Chief Dave Slusser says.
The investigation was spawned after two women from Lima were arrested recently and each charged locally with two felonies and a misdemeanor related to a series of reported thefts during the last two months at the Celina Walmart Supercenter.
Charlotte T. Gunn, 37, and Latasha S. Tate, 31, both of Lima, each have been charged with engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony; felony theft, a fifth-degree felony; and theft, a first-degree misdemeanor.
According to Slusser, the two women reportedly stole an undisclosed amount of clothing and computers from the Celina store.
Information on similar incidents in other jurisdictions was found, and Celina officers are now contacting officials at those other Walmart stores, Slusser said.
The Celina Police Department was first contacted by security personnel of the Celina Walmart on Oct. 22 about a theft that was reported and videotaped on Oct. 20. Late in the day on Oct. 22, an off-duty police officer shopping at the store observed suspicious activity, gathered information on the suspects involved and filed a report, according to Celina police.
It was determined that both incidents involved the same suspects. Further review of surveillance footage revealed the two suspects were involved in at least three separate alleged thefts.
Vehicle information obtained by the off-duty officer helped identify the suspects.
Celina officers were assisted in arresting Gunn and Tate at their Lima residences by the Lima Police Department, Allen County Sheriff's Department and the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force.
Slusser said a 2007 Dodge Magnum - used by the suspects to transport the stolen goods - and a desktop computer have been seized as evidence.
After the arrest, Gunn was returned to Celina, while Tate is being held in Lima due to local charges in that jurisdiction, the release states.