MULBERRY, Fla. - A Lakeland man and his girlfriend were arrested after trying to shoplift clothing and shoes worth over $600, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
Around 6 p.m. Monday, loss prevention officers inside the Walmart, located on Church Avenue North in Mulberry, observed a man and women selecting clothing and shoes, and placing them into their shopping cart, investigators said.
Then, deputies said, they watched as they attempted to walk out the store without paying for the items. When confronted, 41-year-old Cleveland Carr said he was trying to find his girlfriend so they can purchase the items.
Then, he took off running, according to the sheriff's office, and jumped into an SUV waiting for him. Deputies said it was being driven by his girlfriend, 21-year-old Jolene Parlett.
Soon after, deputies conducted a traffic stop on South Florida Avenue and detained both suspects. Inside the vehicle, they said they found stolen hand-baskets from Walmart and Publix.
"If criminals like these think they're going to take advantage of stores and merchants while they might otherwise be distracted dealing with COVID-19 related issues, they can think again," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. "We aren't going to tolerate any crime, big or small, and we will continue putting those who commit crimes in jail."
Carr had two warrants out for his arrest for dealing in stolen property and giving false information to a pawn dealer. Officials said his criminal history includes petit theft, unlawful possession of a shopping car and grand theft. He has a criminal history in Tennessee.