Lumberton alderman admits shoplifting

Lumberton alderman admits shoplifting
Alderman Jay McGraw

LUMBERTON, MS (WDAM) - Security camera footage in a Lumberton Shell Station caught a person stealing a $26 lighter. That person turned out to be an alderman for the city.

When questioned about the incident, city of Lumberton Alderman Jay McGraw did not deny it. In fact, he owned up to it.

"It was to do with shoplifting a cigarette lighter at the Shell station, other than that, I was caught doing that," McGraw said.

As of Monday afternoon, no charges had been filed against McGraw.

"I made restitution, I paid money back to them, it's a humbling experience, it's an embarrassing experience," McGraw said.

That restitution was a total of $55, for the $26 lighter.

As far as why McGraw did it, he was not so sure.

"I couldn't tell you, couldn't tell you," he said.

McGraw, who moved to Lumberton just after Hurricane Katrina, claimed he does not have a criminal past at all.

When asked about what type of example this sets for the city, he said it is definitely not a good one.

"It doesn't set a good example for the city, and I have always been a leader for the city, and have got certain things done for the city," McGraw said. "As far as my position as being an alderman I took an oath, an ethics oath, I'm going to resign. (But) I can't say much more than that right there."

Employees at the Shell station would not comment on the matter, but questioned the Lumberton Police Department's actions in handling the case.

"We are always protecting the citizens of Lumberton, however in a shoplifting situation, in this situation because it was an alderman we took the initial complaint, did a report and we referred it to Lamar County," Lumberton Police Chief Elsie Cowart said.

Also as of Monday afternoon, after seeking legal counsel, McGraw said he has decided not to resign due to the matter.

For any legal action to move forward, charges have to be filed by the store's management.

The Shell Station requested that McGraw not come back on its property and he claimed that he will comply with their request.