An elderly woman was allegedly caught stealing more than $1,200 worth of items during a shoplifting spree at Sears earlier this week and later, pled guilty to the charge, according to court documents.
Norma Blais, 63, of Chesapeake, Va., was arrested on July 16, and charged with theft, a felony.
According to an affidavit, officers were called to on Loudon Road at around 3:30 p.m. for a report of a shoplifter in custody.
A loss prevention officer explained to the officers that while watching the store’s video surveillance, he saw an elderly woman, later ID’d as Blais, maneuvering a cart around the store, filling it with items. A number of family members were with her including her sister and two young children, later identified as her nieces, all who live in Loudon and helped Blais put items into the cart.
The loss prevention officer reported seeing Blais enter the men’s section and select two “Go Green” shopping bags. Blais then went into the electronics section of the store where the family members handed her various games, which she put in the cart. The family members reportedly traveled to the tool section, lawn and garden, and housewares, when they decided to part ways, with Blais going off on her own. Blais put two Kuerig coffee boxes in the cart and later, headed to the intimates section, and put two bras in her cart.
After putting the bras in the cart, Blais entered the intimates fitting room with the shopping cart.
“At this point, the two ‘Go Green’ bags were in the cart full of merchandise,” the officer wrote.
Blais then exited the fitting room with the bags and headed to the west side of the building, leaving the store through the home and garden section.
The loss prevention officer then met up with Blais and asked her to come back to his office, which she did.
The police reported that on the loss prevention officer’s desk were children’s clothes, games, a booster seat, and fake jewelry, all valued at more than $800.
Blais was asked if she had anything in her truck and she reportedly said there were items there that were purchased at a Sears in Maine, she thought, near Brunswick.
“Blais could not provide a receipt but claimed she paid for it with cash or debit card,” the officer wrote.
The store employee asked to check her vehicle and Blais obliged. An officer escorted him to the truck where they found 13 more Sears products which were not in any shopping bags. She later claimed that she discarded the bags to make room for a suitcase.
Blais waived her Miranda rights and spoke to the reporting officer about her side of things. The officer reported that Blais said she was not sure why, but she walked out of the store without paying for the items. She reportedly claimed that she had a lot on her mind with her husband being diagnosed with prostate cancer while a friend in Maine was also dying of cancer.
“Blais said that she has never stolen anything before and knew it was wrong,” the officer stated.
Blais was then taken into custody and charged with theft, a misdemeanor.
At the police station, while being processed and speaking with a bail commissioner, the reporting officer wrote in the affidavit that he received a call from the loss prevention officer stating that the Brunswick store did not have any purchases on file for the 13 items together. The store employee said he went back and looked at the video surveillance and at around 1 p.m., reportedly saw Blais place items in a cart and exit out the home goods entrance/exit.
Due to the camera angle, the loss prevention officer did not see Blais exit the vestibule but he did see her re-enter the store, from the same entrance/exit, with an empty cart.
“Blais said she was sorry for lying to me,” the officer wrote, “and that prior to being apprehended by LP, she did make the trip to her car with stolen merchandise.”
More than $1,200 worth of items was recovered and the charge was bumped up to a felony.
Blais had a court date on July 17, and pled guilty to the charge, which was later lowered to a misdemeanor, with six months time in the house of correction, all suspended, with one year of good behavior, a $500 fine, with "two days PTC toward fine."