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Cash and Cart Thieves Prove Stupidity Knows No Boundaries

Theft has no boundaries, and though the venues vary, the absence of common sense does not, either.

Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 12:04 pm

Ron Johnston Another SideUp NORTH, Down SOUTH—Theft has no boundaries, and though the venues vary, the absence of common sense does not, either.

In East Providence, R.I., a man chooses to target restaurants and becomes a star on ­surveillance cameras. Over the course of seven weeks, a Mr. Person (not an alias, his real name) made his way through the back door of four establishments to steal over $4,000, according to The Providence Journal.

Davenport’s Restaurant on Pawtucket Avenue was his first stop. He slipped into an ­unsecured office to take $1,600 from an unlocked safe. When approached by a worker coming out, the man said he was looking for a bathroom. Video ­cameras were rolling.

Honey Dew Donuts on Waterman Avenue came next, again the back door his access. This time he scooped up $2,000 from an unlocked safe, and again video cameras recorded his passage.

Evidently in the mood for fast food, the suspect entered McDonald’s back door on Taunton Avenue. Though this restaurant’s safe coincidentally had just been locked, Person was persistent. He lifted $60 from a woman’s pocketbook, and the alibis got better. Confronted by a worker on his way out, the man explained he was looking for an employment application. Why join ’em if you can beat ’em? Meantime, the camera wasn’t blinking.

It was the Italian Corner on Boyd Avenue that finally did in our perpetrator. Person maneuvered his way to the back office to cull $400 from the cash box and managed another $120 from a lone pocketbook. By this time, all three previous theft videos matching his description, police were in pursuit as soon as the call came in from the restaurant.

Arrested near his apartment where police found cash and clothes worn at the Italian Corner, Person was charged with larceny and obstruction for giving a false name. That was because he was already on probation, having just finished his sentence for robbery in next-door Providence.

“This guy had been a pain in our butts,” said Capt. Richard Frazier. “Not anymore,” he punctuated.

To borrow from Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does,” and it also applies to a different kind of theft in Memphis.

Surveillance cameras were rolling at the Schnucks on Truse Parkway as a man loaded eight shopping carts onto a trailer behind his Chevy Suburban. Grocery planning for forward buys? Not hardly.

Detectives found Mr. Lyons two days later still pulling the carts behind his SUV. As they trailed the cart caravan south toward the Mississippi state line, it became apparent the suspect wasn’t going to stop, hoping to cross into the neighboring state and adroitly escape arrest.

According to the report by WMCTV, Lyons not only stole from the Schnucks on Truse Parkway, but at least six other stores, selling the carts as scrap metal.

Lionhearted though he must have felt, crossing the state line proved no safe haven for Lyons. The deputies had of course called ahead to the next jurisdiction, whose finest were awaiting the fleeing Tennessean.

Lyons next found himself awaiting extradition to Tennessee.

Oh, the name of the border town in Mississippi?

Olive Branch.

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Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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