John Reed, 44, was arrested Saturday and resigned from the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Deputies said he was hired in 2004 as a detention support specialist and became a detention deputy in July 2005. He left PCSO in 2012, but was rehired as a detention deputy in July 2021, and had nine total years with the agency.
Officials with PCSO said had he not resigned when he was arrested, Reed would have been terminated by the sheriff's office. .
Reed went into the Walmart on Church Avenue North in Mulberry on nine occasions between November 4 and December 3, Polk County deputies said. He intentionally did not scan items in the self-checkout lane, and each of the fraudulent transactions were captured on store surveillance video.
A Walmart loss prevention officer saw the most recent incident on December 3 and confronted Reed while he was trying to leave the store with two hoverboards, two hover carts and a Christmas projection light. Investigators said Reed went with them to the loss prevention office.
The loss prevention officer used the store security system to review the history of Reed's transactions, the sheriff's office said. It was found that Reed committed similar thefts on eight other occasions, totaling in more than $575 worth of losses to the store.
Reed was booked into the Polk County Jail and released after posting bond, according to PCSO. He was arrested on eight counts of petit theft, one count each of obtaining property by fraud, gross fraud, and petit theft between $100-750.
The organized retail crime unit at PCSO is further investigating to see if Reed has committed other crimes.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said Reed had been with the Polk County Sheriff's Office as a detention deputy since 2005. Information on his employment history with PCSO was later corrected by the agency.