HomePalm Beach CountyJupiter NewsBUSTED: Group Arrested For Shoplifting From Jupiter Bait And Tackle
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BUSTED: Group Arrested For Shoplifting From Jupiter Bait And Tackle

Tourists From Arizona Caught While Fishing After Shoplifting From Jupiter Bait And Tackle

Busted: Group Arrested For Shoplifting From Jupiter Bait And Tackle
Busted: Group Arrested For Shoplifting From Jupiter Bait And Tackle

JUPITER, FL – Boca Post (BocaPost.com) — A group of tourists from Arizona went to Jupiter Bait And Tackle on Tuesday evening where they are accused of stealing fishing poles and then went fishing afterward where they were caught and arrested by Jupiter Police.

Usually, a group of tourists pulling into a parking spot at a bait and tackle store is a good thing for the business owner. Employees at Jupiter Bait And Tackle didn’t suspect anything when a group of tourists showed up at a shop in an expensive truck on Tuesday evening. They soon found out that the group was planning on doing more than fishing that evening.

The group was observed taking turns walking in and out of the store while they distracted the employees. In all, the group got away with close to $500 worth of the merchandise. After they left, the store owner became suspicious and reviewed CCTV. That’s when the owner called Jupiter Police.

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The entire police report submitted by Jupiter Police Department can be seen below:

On 6/7/22 at 1943 hours, I was dispatched to Jupiter Bait & Tackle located at 141 Center Street suite 1 in Jupiter, Florida in reference to a retail theft that had just occurred. My body-worn camera was activated upon arrival and was utilized throughout my investigations.

The following is not purported to be verbatim but a summary of my investigations and interviews. Upon arrival, I made contact with store owner W/M Roger Tompkins DOB 7/24/67, and his employee, W/M Alexander Donaldson DOB 2/8/94 who were actively watching surveillance footage of the incident. Mr. Donaldson advised a red Denali pulled up in front of the store where six individuals exited and came inside. Mr. Donaldson stated two subjects stood at the counter most of the time asking questions about fishing poles and requesting he assist with setting the poles up with fishing lines. Mr. Donaldson stated he retrieved bait for them as well. While he was speaking with two of the individuals, the others were walking around the business and going in and out of the truck. At the time, he did not know the product was being stolen. He stated one of the females in a dress kept walking up to the counter and putting stuff down but then would walk stuff back. Once they left, he observed a hat on the ground in the rear of the business and found that to be odd. He then noticed three hangers empty on a rack in the back and that is what raised his suspicion. He contacted his boss (Mr. Tompkins) who returned back to the business to review the cameras.

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I asked Mr. Tompkins to view the cameras from when they entered the business. They entered the business at approximately 1912 hours and exited at 1926 hours. They arrived and parked in front of the business in a red GMC Sierra newer model but were unable to see the license plate. A W/M with a tan hat, white long sleeve shirt, peach shorts, and black loafers enters the business. A W/M wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and white sneakers enters, as well as a W/M with a gray shirt, flowered blue shorts, and white shoes. Three females enter, W/F wearing a pink shirt, black and white skirt with black leggings, and sandals. A W/F wearing a black flowered dress with tan shoes and a W/F wearing a black shirt and green skirt.

I provided the surrounding officers of a description of the vehicle and requested to check local fishing areas for the truck.

While watching the surveillance footage, I observe the male with the white long sleeve shirt holding a fishing pole just west of the front desk. He then walks it up near the cash register and places it near the front door. He then walks back over to the counter where Mr. Donaldson is assisting with lining the fishing poles. Mr. Donaldson did confirm they came in with two poles to get lined. In another view of the surveillance footage, we observed the W/F wearing a pink shirt and black leggings holding a gray t-shirt on her side. A short time later, she is observed walking towards the front door with the male in a gray shirt on the side, as if he was escorting her to the door. She walks out and goes to the truck. She later returns and ultimately goes back to the same shirt rack and is observed concealing two blue shirts on her left side. She is escorted by the male with a gray shirt to the front door and you can see the blue shirt at her side as she exits.

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The female wearing a flowered dress was observed walking around the store several. times. Placing items on the counter and then putting them back. She is seen walking a fishing pole up near the register and also places it by the front door instead of the counter. She walks away and continues to walk around the store. Moments later, she walks back to the front grabs a fishing pole, believed to be a Daiwa BG5500 and walks out the front door, passing all points of purchase.

Mr. Donaldson believes the male wearing the long sleeve white shirt walked out with a Penn Spinfisher VI but the male subject wearing blue flowered shorts also grabbed a fishing pole from near the front door. The male wearing long sleeved white shirt made some purchases while the other individuals began to walk out towards the truck.

The property stolen is as follows:

      • Penn Spinfisher VI- $239.00
      • Daiwa BG5500- $159.00
      • (3) long sleeve fishing shirts- $30.00 (a piece)

The total value of the stolen property is $488.00

Mr. Tompkins advised he does wish to prosecute. I provided him with a case card.

After leaving the business, I decided to check Sawfish Bay Park, located at 1133 North alternate AIA in Jupiter, Florida. As I entered, I observed a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle and notified Northcom Dispatch that I may have located the vehicle. I provided the tag (Montana tag CXD059) and it came back to a 2021 red GMC Sierra. Due to the area, I advised responding officers to hold back and wait until the vehicle was occupied. Prior to exiting the parking lot, I saw the business owner who was walking toward the vehicle. I advised him to get back in his vehicle and explained to him we would conduct our investigation. While I was updating surrounding officers, the suspect vehicle pulled up behind me. I continued northbound .on North Alternate A1A and waited for the vehicle to pass me in order to conduct a traffic stop. Officer Counts ID 347 was in the area and assisted with the traffic stop. The location of the traffic stop ended at European Automotive. Imports at 1350 North Alternate AIA. I approached the passenger side vehicle and it was occupied by six people., Officer Counts made contact with the driver and explained to him that we were conducting an investigation. I began asking for identifications from the occupants of the vehicle.

I ultimately asked the driver, later identified as W/M Matthew Steve DOB 8/7/93 to exit the vehicle and walked him to the rear of the pickup truck to speak with him. I explained to him that I was conducting an investigation and before having the opportunity to read him his Miranda Warnings, he stated “it was an honest mistake” and also stated the girls took fishing poles that were not theirs. I read Mr. Steve his Miranda Warnings and he advised he understood. He continuously apologized for taking the property and offered to pay for the stolen merchandise. He claimed it was a mistake and the “girls” thought they had paid for them. Mr. Steve advised he did not walk out with any property that was not paid for.

While conducting my interview with Mr. Steve, Officer Banegas ID 327 retrieved the employee, Mr. Donaldson to conduct a show up at our location. Officer Banegas arrived on the scene and Mr. Donaldson positively identified all six subjects as being. the individuals in the business and involved in the retail theft. Mr. Donaldson provided Officer Banegas with a detailed account, of everyone’s involvement via a sworn witness statement. See his supplement for further.

I spoke with W/M later identified as Luke Gai DOB 7/16/95 next and read him his Miranda Warnings. I asked Mr. Gai to explain what happened at the Bait & Tackle Store. Mr. Gai advised he and his wife brought in their fishing poles to get the line put on. He stated the only fishing pole that he walked out with was the one he brought in. He was observed walking out to the truck with one fishing pole and a bucket of bait. He was primarily at the front desk speaking with the employee. Mr. Gai said he believes the guys stole fishing poles but claims he was not aware.

I then spoke with W/M later identified as Brandon Steve DOB 10/8/93. I read Mr. B. Steve his Miranda Warnings and explained to him I was conducting an investigation. He denied stealing any property, but when I confronted him about the video footage and how he was observed assisting the female walk out the front door with stolen property, he did not deny it. Mr. B. Steve was observed on camera at the shirt rack with the female who stole the shirts. Mr. B. Steve walked around the store several times and ultimately is observed walking out of the store with a fishing rod in his hand. Mr. B. Steve does not make a purchase and passes all points of sale.

I spoke with W/F later identified as Claudia Miller DOB 8/27/93. I read Mrs. Miller her Miranda Warnings and explained to her that I was conducting an investigation. She initially stated she believes it was about the fishing poles. When I confronted her about the T-shirts, she claimed she thought the men purchased the shirts. I asked her again, keeping in mind that I watched the video footage and saw her concealing T-shirts and walking out of the business, not once but twice and she admitted to taking the property knowing it was not paid for. She could not advise which fishing poles were stolen.

I spoke with W/F later identified as Channel Miller DOB 3/31/92. I read Mrs. C. Miller her Miranda Warnings and explained to her that I was conducting an investigation. Mrs.- C. Miller advised when they were leaving the business, that there was mention of possible stolen property in the truck but would not name who said it. She confirmed they left the business without paying for items but again, would not state who walked out with the stolen property. I observed Mrs..C. Miller exit the business with one of the fishing poles that were placed by the front door that still had a tag on it. I asked why she walked around the store several times putting property by the register and then bringing items back to the racks. She advised she does that when she shops and that she was grabbing multiples of the same property on the desk.

Lastly, I spoke with W/F later identified as Tabitha Mitchell DOB 8/18/94. I read her Miranda Warnings and explained to her that I was conducting an investigation. She advised they arrived at the bait shop and brought in fishing poles to have lines run. She advised she and her husband (Mr. Gai) was at the counter asking questions while the employee assisted with their poles. Ms. Mitchell claimed she was unaware there was any stolen property until we conducted the traffic stop. She said the boys said, “oh shit, we got rods”. Ms. Mitchell advised when they left the store, they immediately went to Sawfish Park and were there when I pulled into the parking lot.

Based on my above investigation, I find probable cause to charge, Mr. Gai, Mr. B. Steve, Mr. M. Steve, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. C. Miller with theft-retail shoplifting under $750.00 pursuant to F.S.S. 812.015(1) (D). All arrested subjects were transported back to the Jupiter Police Department while I completed the proper paperwork. They were then transported down to Palm Beach. County Jail without incident.

The 5 following subjects were arrested and charged with “LARC – OTHER THEFT”:

  • Channel Miller, 30, Phoenix, AZ
  • Claudia Miller, 28, Peoria, AZ
  • Matthew Steve, 28, Phoenix, AZ
  • Brandon Steve, 28, Peoria, AZ
  • Luke Gai, 26, Bullhead City, AZ

They were all booked and released at PBSO jail early on Wednesday morning.

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