Police in Lake Wales, Florida are saying that a thief faked a heart attack inside a Walmart store so his accomplice could steal toys. 27-year-old Genard Dupree and 30-year-old Tarus Scott, two alleged thieves from Lake Wales were arrested Tuesday on charges of grand theft. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s office, the men piled a shopping cart with toys including a Barbie Glam vacation house, a Leap Frog tablet, and a motorized Barbie car. The individuals were seen on tape walking through Walmart at 2000 State Road East together.
Surveillance tapes show the thief on the ground by the entrance clutching his chest in an apparent heart attack. Concerned shoppers and employees and a Walmart security guard proceed to check on him and at that moment, Scott walks out with the shopping cart. Once Scott is in the clear, the thief hops up and walks out of the store.
Footage shows the pair leaving in a silver sports utility vehicle but eventually they were apprehended by deputies. According to local authorities, the duo has an extensive rap sheet. Scott was recently released from a 10-year stint in state prison for armed robbery. Before the incident, Dupree was on felony probation for theft.
The tapes show the pair of thieves entering the store together, strolling through Walmart picking out one toy after another. The Polk County Christmas bandits load up the shopping cart with several toys worth almost $370 combined. The pair heads to the exit still together and that is when Dupree goes down.
Good Samaritan employees and shoppers stop to unknowingly assist the thief with one concerned passerby even calling 911. While this is happening, Scott casually pushes the shopping cart out of the Walmart store past all the designated points of sale. With his hand still clutching his chest, the thief stands up after 44 seconds and slowly ambles his way out of the Florida Walmart store after faking the heart attack.
The culprits’ plan initially seemed to be successful. They were able to flee the scene and would have got off scot-free if it were not for the surveillance tapes. Taped footage linked Scott and Dupree to the act and were apprehended Tuesday on charges of grand theft. The duo is being held in the Polk County Jail. Reportedly, the Polk County Sheriff’s office has been working hand in hand with retailers this year in an effort to thwart thieves. Loss prevention officers, according to Judd, are also trained to keep an eye out for similar types of diversions.
Sheriff Grady Judd commented on the fake heart attack by the thief in the Florida Walmart saying that while diversions are a common practice for thieves, this act was interesting. According to Judd, the suspect did not go down hard when he was suffering the heart attack. Dupree simply laid down on the ground hand to his chest. Judd said that it was not an original diversion. Dupree’s ability to get up after suffering the heart attack was a miracle remarked Judd. It is not known whether the suspects have an attorney or not.
By Stevenson Benoit
Photo by Mike Mozart – Flickr License