Crime

This store lost $100K to shoplifters last year. A manager just helped nab one suspect.

Detective Marcus R. Smith and Sharnetta Johnson pictured together.
Detective Marcus R. Smith and Sharnetta Johnson pictured together. csmith@bnd.com

Police said an observant Dollar General manager is credited with providing the information that led to an arrest Monday in a shoplifting case.

Sharnetta Johnson saw someone stealing from the store in Alorton and called police. When Detective Marcus R. Smith arrived, he said Johnson was able to provide him with enough details to catch the suspect.

“She remained calm and allowed the suspect to leave the store and get into a vehicle,” Smith said, of Johnson, the store manager. “Miss Johnson wrote down the license plate number to the vehicle and got a full description of the suspect. She also provided video surveillance footage.”

Smith arrested Tahonna G. Betts, 36, who has a history of theft charges, the same day. She has been charged with misdemeanor theft.

Smith said the store manager told him that last year the location had suffered a $100,000 loss due to retail theft. The detective noted the Alorton Police Department receives lots of calls related to thefts at the store.

“Theft to this degree financially, if not stopped, would bring a store to its knees,” Smith said. “The village of Alorton barely has businesses to support its tax base. The Dollar General is a valuable business in the village of Alorton. We need it to remain here. So, Ms. Johnson’s efforts and her presence in the store is win-win for both the village and the store.”

When the detective returned to the store with the stolen items, he thanked Johnson for her assistance in the apprehension of the suspect. He asked Johnson if she ever considered becoming a police officer, noting Alorton is looking for an officer.

That’s when he learned she had already submitted an application to the Alorton Police Department for a part-time job.

“I don’t think Miss Johnson will have any trouble with the physical aspects of law enforcement nor the bare basic minimal physical requirements to get into the police academy,” Smith said.

“She is a former track star from East St. Louis Senior High School where her track record still stands,” Smith noted.

Johnson could not talk to the BND because of a Dollar General corporate policy.

Angela Petkovic, a spokeswoman for Dollar General, said the company “respectfully declined to allow for an employee to be interviewed” for this story.

Carolyn P. Smith: 618-239-2503, @carolynhendri18
  Comments