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Police Bust Frequent Shoplifter Trying to Pay for Free Meds

LaGrange Police arrested an alleged frequent shoplifter after he reportedly stole a pack of razors to pay for some free of charge medication.

Wednesday afternoon about 1:28 p.m., officers with the LaGrange Police Department were called to the Publix supermarket on Commerce Avenue in reference to shoplifting in progress.

Officers arrived and performed a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle, which matched the description provided by store management, as it was leaving the parking lot.

Police first spoke with the front seat passenger, James Earl Stokes, who stated that he had not stolen anything. Stokes was quick to tell officers that the item he had taken was only brought to the service counter and he left it there.

Officers then spoke with the Publix manager, who explained that one of his employees had actually dealt with Stokes. The manager stated that Stokes took a pack of shaving razors from the shelf and attempted to fraudulently return them for cash. Employees then began to investigate the return and Stokes fled the store.

Stokes then confirmed these statements and stated that he was short on money, so he attempted to fraudulently return the merchandise.

Stokes claimed that he needed the money for some medication, but later learned his medication was free, so he left without taking the razors or any refund for them.

Police say Stokes was adamant that he didn’t steal anything though, despite having just admitted to attempting to get a cash refund for an item he did not purchase. Stokes also insisted that his wife, who was driving the vehicle, never entered the store and she had nothing to do with the incident.

Officers then spoke with the customer service clerk, who stated that Stokes brought a package of shaving razors, valued at $10.69, and stated that his wife had bought him the wrong razors and he needed to return them. After he was unable to provide a receipt, the clerk began to investigate and discovered that there was a package of razors missing of the same type Stokes was attempting to return.

The manager then reviewed the security video and observed Stokes enter the store, walk to the shaving section, select the razors, and bring them to the service desk where he tried to return them. Stokes then fled the scene after the return was delayed.