Five arrested for failed five-finger discounts

SOUTHBRIDGE — Sixteen individuals, including five locals publicly outed by local law enforcement social media, have been arrested for shoplifting in recent weeks, all part of a new counter-crime initiative in conjunction with downtown merchants.

The Southbridge Police Department released the names and booking photos of five individuals, each charged with shoplifting in some form at a local business. Police Chief Shane Woodson said the department is taking a zero tolerance approach to the issue, citing an increase in shoplifting in town. “We will now be arresting and prosecuting all shoplifters in our community,” Woodson said in a press release Wednesday afternoon. “One of the purposes of the initiative is information sharing as many of the same offenders are responsible for most of the thefts that occur at stores in our community. Since the offenders will go from ‘store to store’ stealing products, many of the retailers will now also be completing ‘no trespass’ orders for any person who is caught shoplifting. This will prevent the shoplifter from entering any of the retailers who are a part of our counter-crime shoplifting initiative.”

Kristopher R. Anderson and Carina D. Allen-Parkhurst were the first among those to be publicly outed by police as part of the initiative. Anderson, 29, and Allen-Parkhurst, 30, both of whom reside at 60 Union Street, were arrested on March 21 at Big Bunny Market. According to police, it was shortly after 11 a.m. that Officers Aaron Tetlow and Charlie Pennachio-Bergeron were dispatched to the popular grocery store to respond to a “known shoplifter in the store who was reported to be in the process of shoplifting again.” Police said Anderson attempted to flee the scene but was quickly apprehended with a backpack containing stolen merchandise. Authorities said Allen-Parkhurst had been observed shoplifting with Anderson. Both were charged with shoplifting and held pending release on bail.

On April 8, Officer Tetlow was again bagging an alleged shoplifter at Big Bunny Market. Police were called at approximately 2:20 p.m. that afternoon, responding to a report that Nicholas S. Guzman had stolen several items and had attempted to leave the store. The Paige Hill Road resident, aged 30, was arrested on charges of shoplifting by asportation and held pending release on bail.

Shortly after 4 p.m. on April 9, it was 30-year-old Christopher S. Shamma of 308 Main Street who found himself in handcuffs after attempting to steal a couple items from Cumberland Farms. Officers Eric Raymond, Joel Lopez-Miranda, and Nicholas Tretheway determined Shamma had stolen two pieces of merchandise from the convenience store, and he was taken to the police station for booking. While at the police station, police found Shamma had also been carrying what they believed to be heroin. He was charged with shoplifting by concealing merchandise as well as possession of class A heroin.

Most recent of those outed by Southbridge Police was 56-year-old Joanne Tarallo of 1034 Main Street. Just after 11:30 a.m. on April 25, Officers Eliesett Rodriguez and Darren Dodge responded to CVS Pharmacy for a report of an active shoplifter. Upon arrival, police were told the alleged shoplifter was pushing a shopping cart and had stolen several items. Officers said they monitored Tarallo, who, upon noticing the police presence, began pulling items out of her purse and placing them behind other merchandise on display on the store shelves. According to a police department press release, when approached by officers, Tarallo remarked: “That is absurd, I would never do such a thing.” Despite her plea of innocence, police recovered six stolen items from the woman’s purse and she was placed under arrest, charged with shoplifting by asportation. Police said Tarallo had already been found guilty of shoplifting on five previous occasions.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Woodson warned those seeking five-finger discounts that police will act. “If you’re a shoplifter be prepared to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and no trespassed from the participating retailers in our community,” he said.

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