Felony Theft Charge for Man who Picked Up Forgotten Purse

Thanks to a security video, police were able to recover a woman’s purse that was stolen after she briefly left it behind while shopping. The man who allegedly took the purse is now behind bars and the purse was returned, but not the money inside.

Tuesday afternoon about 12:42 p.m., officers with the LaGrange Police Department took a walk-in report in reference to theft.

Police spoke with the female complainant, who stated she left her purse in a shopping cart at Walmart the previous day, but it was gone when she went back to recover it.

The victim advised that she had her purse while she was loading items from a cart, but shortly afterwards she realized she left it behind. She went back, but the purse had been taken.

The stolen purse reportedly contained several identification cards, the victim’s glasses and hearing aids, her cell phone, and a large amount of cash. The total value of the items was estimated at more than $5,000.

Police responded to Walmart to review security video that may have captured the incident. Security video showed a white male exiting a vehicle and then taking the purse from a cart. The male then returned to the vehicle and left without attempting to identify the owner of the purse.

Using the video, police were able to identify the vehicle which was registered to a female on Harwell Avenue.

Officers then relocated to Harwell Avenue, where they located a male suspect who matched the subject that took the purse.

The suspect, Richard Wayne Hayes, was then asked if he went to Walmart the previous day and he advised that he did. Police then asked him about the purse and another male on scene told Hayes to not say another word before getting a lawyer. Hayes then responded, ‘What purse?’

Hayes was then taken into custody for suspicion of theft, but he continued to insist he did not know what officers were talking about.

Police were later able to identify Hayes as the suspect from the security camera video at Walmart. Officers say Hayes had on the same hat and shoes as the subject who took the purse from the Walmart.

Police were able to recover the purse and some of the contents, but the cash and cell phone were not found. The items were later returned to the victim.

As a result of the investigation, Hayes, age 50, was arrested and transported to the Troup County Sheriff’s Office where he was booked into the jail charged with Felony Theft by Taking.

As of press time, Hayes is being held at the Troup County Jail on $5,000 bond.