Black Friday shoplifter jailed

Published 12:05 am Saturday, November 24, 2012


One man went from sale shopping to shoplifting during the Thanksgiving shopping blitz at Wal-Mart Thursday night.

Eyewitnesses said the man, whose identity wasn’t readily available, was attempting to steal a camera when he was spotted.

“He grabbed one of those cameras, tore open the package, threw it down one way and then ran off in the other direction,” said Officer Mike Abraham, one of nearly 10 off-duty Andalusia Police Department officers on hand for security. He was one of several officers who gave chase and ultimately apprehended the suspect.

Thankfully, no one was injured as the man tore through areas of the store that were packed with customers hoping to score a hot ticket item for Christmas.

The incident was one of several where law enforcement were involved. Other customers reported instances of loud and irate customers displeased with other customers’ behavior or when items were not part of the holiday sales promotion.

Customers reported waiting in check out lines with their goodies for more than an hour and a half after a glitch in the system required managers to manually OK “StraightTalk” phone activations.

But that didn’t deter the shopping as locals turned out by the hundreds, if not thousands, to take place in Wal-Mart’s three-phase Black Friday sale, which began Thursday at 8 p.m. At the peak shopping times, cars filed the parking lot and spilled to the grass areas next to the store.

Friday morning, other retailers reported outstanding crowds.

Goody’s store manager Leslie Melton said a $49.99 Android tablet was the night’s biggest seller.

“We opened at 8 p.m. Thursday, and people were lining up at 6 p.m., I know for that tablet,” Melton said. “We closed at midnight, and it (was) steady all day Friday.”

At Burkes’ 6 a.m. opening, others were also waiting in line, manager Sherry Patterson said.

She said staff members said the crowd also outnumbered the one last year.

When asked if it was because Wal-Mart staggered its sales, Patterson said she didn’t know.

“I really can’t answer that,” she said. “For us, our ‘dots’ (merchandise price reductions) moved, which meant no less than 60 percent off and up to 95 percent off. So, I’m not sure if people were looking for more of a bargain or had already been to other stores.”

At J.C. Penney, things must have been super busy throughout the day as no one was answering the phone Friday afternoon.