Columbia police officers obliterated an alleged tri-state shoplifting and receipt fraud operation that targeted 20 Wal-Mart stores in at least 18 cities, costing the stores tens of thousands of dollars.
Detective Mike Cooper of the Columbia Police Department said, "It's going to be a male, female team. They were just traveling from Wal-Mart to Wal-Mart."
After the duo was taken into custody a host of equipment used to fraudulently manufacture Wal-Mart receipts was found in the late model Jeep bearing Pike County plates.
Cooper says, "They had a mobile receipt station in their vehicle. They had laptop computers with wifi, copiers, and printers in the vehicle with them. They were actually printing their own receipts."
Receipts were found from Wal-Mart stores in Oxford, Jackson, Madison, Laurel, Columbia, New Orleans, Sulfur, even as far away as Houston, just to name a few. And this doesn't just cost Wal-Mart Cooper says. "This is costing you and I every time we walk into a store and buy something."
Arrested at the Columbia Wal-Mart Thursday are James Edward Jefferson and girlfriend Olivia Rochelle Howard on a host of charges which will include felony shoplifting, felony conspiracy to shoplift, receipt fraud, and according police another whole shopping list of charges.
"We're also going to get with the district attorneys office and see what all we can and can't charge them with." Cooper says charges from each of the Wal-Mart in each of the cities will also levy charges against the two, and needless this was one Wal-Mart greeter they weren't happy to see. Cooper says, "She (Howard) had a big grin on her face counting her cash and she said hello and I told her she was under arrest. It wiped the smile right off her face."