On July 24, 2020, the PCSO Organized Retail Crime Unit arrested two suspects who stole merchandise from a Home Depot and a Lowe’s located in Lakeland. The investigation began when loss prevention personnel from the stores contacted detectives about a series of organized retail thefts that occurred on three different occasions.
On April 22, 2020, security video footage from Lowe’s in Lakeland shows 44 year-old Shenicka Whittington leaving the store with Yeti brand coolers and laundry detergent totaling $552.89. Whittington did not pay for the merchandise.
On May 21, 2020, Whittington was seen removing several Yeti brand items from the same Lowe’s store without paying for the merchandise. The stolen merchandise totaled $209.97.
On July 24, 2020, detectives responded to Home Depot where they observed Whittington exit the store with a shopping cart full of merchandise. Her boyfriend, 55 year-old Joseph Lamar was standing next to a vehicle waiting for Whittington. Through witness statements and video surveillance, detectives learned Whittington and Lamar had entered the Home Depot store a total of three times on this day. They removed fuel boxes, a gas pressure washer, chainsaws, a reciprocating saw, Bluetooth headphones, and other items totaling $3,028.83. These items were found in Whittington’s shopping cart and the couple’s vehicle.
“Retail theft is not a victimless crime. It hurts businesses and consumers in the wallet. We are holding these thieves accountable – they are both career criminals. Just one look at the long list of charges, and the fact that Whittington is already on probation for the same thing, and you know they have no respect for the judicial system. These are serious crimes and there will be serious consequences.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
Lamar was charged with Coordinated Retail Theft (F-3). Lamar’s criminal history includes 17 felonies and 18 misdemeanors, which includes 4 prior theft convictions.
Whittington was charged with Coordinated Retail Theft (F-3), False Name to Law Enforcement (M-1), and Violation of Probation Felony Petit Theft/3rd Conviction (M-2). Whittington’s criminal history includes 41 felonies and 34 misdemeanors, which includes 23 prior theft convictions. Whittington is also being detained on warrants for theft out of Orange and Hillsborough Counties.