Out-of-state residents getting nabbed

November 30, 2012

A West Virginia woman was arrested Wednesday night by South Strabane Township police for allegedly stealing items from Walmart, Trinity Point, as police are seeing an increase in out-of-state residents being nabbed at local retailers.

Shaney Renee Lemasters, 27, of Star City, W.Va., was caught by store security about 10 p.m. A loss prevention officer told police Lemasters was spotted selecting items from the shelves, putting the items in a bag and leaving the store. She was found with baby spoons, baby underwear, baby and adult pajamas and candy.

Lemasters told police she had no identification. But when police checked her bag and purse, they found that she had a West Virginia identification card. Police said she also had $1,117 in cash including 10, $100 bills, a syringe cap and nine stamp bags of suspected heroin. Police said she also had 41 hypodermic needles and empty stamp bags of heroin.

Township police Detective Ken Torboli said police are see a definite rise in out-of-state retail theft offenders coming to the township. Most stop at Walmart, but some also hit other retailers.

“They are coming up from Interstate 79 or on Interstate 70 from Valley Grove and Wheeling, W.Va., or St. Clairsville, Ohio,” Torboli said. “They are taking a drive of 15 or 20 minutes longer and coming to us so we have to deal with them.”

Many of the thefts are drug-related.

“In a lot of cases, when we arrest them, we find lists of stuff the drug dealers want, like certain movies they will exchange for drugs,” he added. “Recently, we had some here from Elkins, W.Va., who were on their way to a methadone clinic in Pittsburgh.”

Lemasters was arraigned before District Judge Gary Havelka on charges of retail theft, possession and possession with intent to deliver heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was placed in the Washington County jail on $10,000 bond.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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