Two Polk County strong-armed robbery suspects who had PCSO warrants for their arrests were arrested in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, during the late evening hours on Sunday, July 9, 2017.
18-year-old Omar McCrae and 19-year-old Malik Taylor were positively identified as two of three male suspects dressed as women who committed robberies at a Lakeland Home Depot, and a Winter Haven Home Depot, on June 22nd and July 3rd, respectively. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office issued warrants for their arrests on July 6, 2017.
Last night, they were arrested at a hotel in Jefferson Parish, LA, and some of the stolen gift cards from Polk County were in their possession. Detectives are still working on positively identifying the third suspect. It is unknown at this time why they were in Louisiana.
The following are excerpts from McCrae’s and Taylor’s affidavits, and are self-explanatory:
Polk County Sheriff’s Office Case 2017-28955
On June 22, 2017, the defendant, Omar McCrae, co-defendant, Malik Taylor, and an unidentified suspect entered the Home Depot store located at 6335 South Florida Avenue in Lakeland, at approximately 0641 hours. The defendants selected numerous MasterCard and American Express gift cards and approached the self-checkout kiosks. The defendant, McCrae, began scanning several gift cards on self-checkout kiosk #57 while the co-defendant, Taylor, began scanning gift cards on self-checkout kiosk #58.
Victim 1, Home Depot cashier, grew suspicious of the defendants’ actions and contacted the head cashier, who responded to the self-checkout area. After the head cashier arrived, she assisted the defendant, McCrae, at self-checkout kiosk #57, who attempted to show identification to further the transaction. The head cashier, noticing the provided identification did not match the defendant’s appearance, provided the identification to Assistant Store Manager Michael Swierk, who became engaged in conversation with the defendant regarding the transaction attempts and the identification.
A few moments later, the co-defendant, Taylor, diverted the head cashier’s attention away from the self-checkout employee computer as the defendant, McCrae, accessed the employee computer and began touching the screen. Victim 1 approached the employee’s terminal computer and took possession of her keyboard, pulling it towards her chest to keep the defendant from accessing the cash system. The defendant, McCrae, extended his right arm and grasped the keyboard, utilizing force to remove the keyboard from Victim 1’s arms. Victim 1 later stated the defendant’s actions caused her to be in fear as she walked away from the defendant. The defendant continued to type on the keyboard which she forcefully removed from Victim 1’s possession.
The co-defendant, Taylor, scanned 8 gift cards at self-checkout kiosk #58. The gift cards were scanned for $100 each and included 6 American Express gift cards and 2 MasterCard gift cards. A $5.95 gift card activation fee was charged to each card, totaling a $47.60 activation fee, totaling a charge amount of $847.60. The co-defendant utilized a MasterCard ending in #3297 at self-checkout kiosk #58 to charge $40.84 towards the balance of the gift cards scanned. It was determined when the defendant, McCrae, accessed the associate’s terminal computer, he overrode the transaction and entered a $900.00 cash payment, which caused the store’s computer system to believe a total of $940.84 had been paid to the store through the cash and MasterCard transaction. Due to the transaction total entered by the defendant and the MasterCard payment processed by the co-defendant, the Home Depot computer system issued a $93.24 cash return through kiosk #58 ($940.84 transaction minus the balance of $847.60). The defendant and co-defendant took the cash and the eight $100 gift cards into their possession and fled from the store.
Through investigation, it was discovered the defendant and co-defendant were possibly Omar McCrae and Malik Taylor. Separate photograph lineups were created utilizing the defendants’ photographs and other subjects with similar characteristics. Contact was made with Assistant Store Manager Michael Swierk and victim 1 who were shown the photograph lineup consisting of the defendant. They each independently selected #1, positively identifying the defendant as Omar McCrae.
Contact was made with the head cashier, who stated the co-defendant had showed her an identification card with the name Malik. She was shown a photograph lineup consisting of the co-defendant, Malik Taylor, and 5 other individuals with similar characteristics. She selected #4, positively identifying the co-defendant as the subject who scanned the gift cards at kiosk #58 and produced an identification with the name Malik. She was later shown the photograph lineup consisting of the defendant’s photograph and 5 other individuals with similar characteristics. She selected #1, positively identifying the defendant, Omar McCrae, as the subject whom with she spoke at kiosk #57 regarding the identification card that did not match the subject’s appearance.
Both Omar McCrae and Malik Taylor have warrants for Robbery (F-2) for the Lakeland Home Depot robbery.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office Case 2017-30910
On July 6, 2017, deputies learned the defendant (Omar McCrae) entered the Home Depot store located at 2000 8th Street NW, Winter Haven, FL, with an unidentified suspect at approximately 0914 hours. The defendants selected numerous Visa gift cards and proceeded to self-checkout kiosk #57. The defendant began scanning the selected gift cards and asked victim 2 why the kiosk would not allow additional cards to be scanned. Upon victim 2 informing the defendants that they had reached the limit of scans the Home Depot kiosk would allow, the defendant, McCrae, became angry and approached the employee terminal computer. Victim 2 stated the unidentified suspect attempted to distract her while the defendant accessed the terminal computer, typing on the keyboard. Victim 2 approached the defendant and attempted to block him from accessing the computer. The defendant, McCrae grasped her arm before placing his arm around her neck, pulling her away from the terminal computer. As McCrae had ahold of Victim 2’s neck, the unidentified suspect accessed the terminal computer and overrode the system, entering a cash transaction for $14,000.00.
It was determined the defendants successfully scanned and activated 13 Visa gift cards at $100.00 each. In addition, each card activation charged $5.95, for a total activation fee of $77.35. As the defendants were fleeing from the establishment, they dropped 1 gift card and ran with 12 cards. The total value of gift cards the defendants stole or endeavored to steal was $1377.35.
Deputies observed video surveillance of the incident and recognized the defendant as wearing a pink outfit. Contact was made with store associate Heather Holby, who approached the self-checkout kiosks after hearing victim 2 yelling for assistance. Holby was shown the photograph lineup consisting of the defendant, Omar McCrae, and 5 other individuals with similar characteristics. Holby selected #1, positively identifying the defendant as one of the suspects she observed at the self-checkout kiosk with their hands on victim 2.
Contact was made with victim 2, who stated she was attempting to block the defendant from overriding the Home Depot computer system when the defendant forcefully grasped her arm, attempting to move her. She stated the defendant then placed his arm around her neck and pulled her away from the terminal computer so the unidentified suspect could access the computer, entering a fraudulent cash transaction and activating the selected gift cards. The defendants fled from the store with the activated cards.
Omar McCrae has another warrant for Robbery (F-2) for the Winter Haven Home Depot robbery.
McCrae and Taylor will be extradited to Polk County at a later date. Detectives are still working to identify the third suspect. Although the Jefferson Parish County Sheriff’s Office online inmate search shows both in custody, their mugshots do not appear to be available (the link is provided for your convenience below).
Omar McCrae and Malik Taylors mugshots photos are from a previous arrest in Hillsborough County.