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PCSO Detectives Arrested Organized Retail Crime Suspects During Racketeering Investigation

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In October 2017, the PCSO Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Unit identified and arrested eight suspects who were working together to steal thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandize from four Lakeland retail stores: Lowes (3600 US Hwy 98, 3525 Lakeland Highlands Rd), Home Depot (2805 US Hwy 98 North), Walmart (5800 US Hwy 98 North, 3501 South Florida Ave), and JC Penney (3800 US Hwy 98 North). The leader of the group and three others were charged with racketeering. In all, the eight suspects were charged with 66 felonies and 53 misdemeanors.

The suspects committed 34 confirmed thefts during the time frame April – September 2017, depriving businesses of approximately $6,700.00. All but one of the suspects have criminal histories.

According to their affidavits, the “ringleader” of the organized group, 46-year-old Tina Morrison of 3130 Gardner Rd in Lakeland, worked with seven others to steal merchandise from the stores, mainly by entering the stores in the garden or automotive sections, putting items (mostly outdoor/sporting goods and tools) in shopping carts, and taking them to the return counters for gift cards in exchange for the fake “returns.”

Click here to see surveillance video of the suspects committing these crimes.

Oftentimes, they would then use the fraudulently-obtained gift cards to purchase merchandise, and pawn that merchandise for cash at various pawn stores. Each theft, use of the gift card, and pawn transaction often occurred within a one-hour time frame.

During each return, the suspects provided the store personnel with personal identification (driver’s licenses). During each pawn transaction, the suspects provided pawn brokers with fingerprints and signatures.

The following suspects were arrested and charged:

Tina Morrison, DOB 9/12/71, of Gardner Rd, Lakeland

  • 1 count racketeering (F-1)
  • 1 count director of dealing in stolen property (F-1)
  • 9 counts giving false info to pawn dealer (F-3)
  • 9 counts dealing in stolen property (F-2)
  • 1 count obtaining property by fraud (F-3)
  • 34 counts petit theft (M-1)
  • Prior arrests for: battery, grand theft, dealing in stolen property, giving false info to pawn dealer, possession of opium, worthless check, uttering forged instrument

Robert Johnson, DOB 2/8/56, of Jungle St, Lakeland

  • 1 count racketeering (F-1)
  • 10 counts giving false info to pawn dealer (F-3)
  • 10 counts dealing in stolen property (F-2)
  • 1 count obtaining property by fraud (F-3)
  • 10 counts petit theft (M-1)
  • Prior arrests for: battery, battery on LEO, resisting arrest, possession of heroin, possession of cocaine, DWLSR, criminal mischief

Dottie Mox, DOB 3/30/71, of Lake Grove Dr, Lakeland

  • 1 count racketeering (F-1)
  • 7 counts giving false info to pawn dealer (F-3)
  • 7 counts dealing in stolen property (F-2)
  • 1 count obtaining property by fraud (F-3)
  • 9 counts petit theft (M-1)
  • Prior arrests for: uttering forged instrument, possession of alprazolam, possession of oxycodone, possession of marijuana, maintaining structure for drug use

Paul Mox, DOB 12/15/70, of Lake Grove Dr, Lakeland

  • 1 count racketeering (F-1)
  • 2 counts giving false info to pawn dealer (F-3)
  • 2 counts dealing in stolen property (F-2)
  • 1 count obtaining property by fraud (F-3)
  • 5 counts petit theft (M-1)
  • Prior arrests for: battery, aggravated assault with deadly weapon, improper display of firearm, possession of alprazolam, possession of oxycodone, possession of marijuana

Willie Solomon, Jr., DOB 8/5/67, of East Parker St, Lakeland

  • 1 count petit theft (M-1)
  • Prior arrests for: robbery, escape, attempted murder, battery on LEO, battery, possession of short-barreled shotgun, possession of firearm by convicted felon, manslaughter, disorderly conduct, possession of cocaine, resisting arrest, deriving proceeds from prostitution, tampering with evidence, trespassing, DWLSR, vehicle theft

Heather Arlington, DOB 4/3/80, of Combee Ave, Orlando

  • 2 counts petit theft, 3rd or subsequent offense (M-1)
  • 1 count obtaining property by fraud (F-3)
  • Prior arrests for: petit theft, possession of heroin, tampering with evidence

Wendy Davis, DOB 6/25/76, of Vassar Dr, Lakeland

  • 1 count petit theft, 2nd offense (M-1)
  • Prior arrests for: grand theft, possession of heroin, possession of controlled substance, possession of meth, possession of marijuana, fraud, forgery, petit theft, DWLSR

Andrea Rios, DOB 2/6/75, of Talbot House, Lakeland

  • 1 count petit theft (M-1)

The following incidents occurred this year, and each transaction was captured on video surveillance:

  • April 2017:
    • April 11th – Tina Morrison and Dottie Mox placed a tent in their cart in the sporting goods section at Walmart; they passed all points of sale and took the tent to the customer service desk; they returned it for a gift card valued at $191.00; they went back into the store 30 minutes later, purchased $30.00 worth of items using the gift card, then sold the remaining balance on the card at a pawn shop.
    • April 14th – Tina Morrison and Dottie Mox placed two sleeping bags in their cart in the sporting goods section at Walmart; they passed all points of sale and took the sleeping bags to the customer service desk; they returned them for a gift card valued at $164.00; they then sold the remaining gift card at a pawn shop.
    • April 18th – Tina Morrison and Dottie Mox placed a ceiling fan and a showerhead into their cart at Home Depot; they went to the customer service desk; they returned the items for a gift card valued at $255.00; they went back into the store an hour later and purchased $198.00 worth of items, including a saw, using the gift card; thirty minutes later, they pawned the saw.
    • April 19th – Tina Morrison and Dottie Mox placed a ceiling fan into their cart at Home Depot; they went to the customer service desk; they returned the fan for a gift card valued at $180.00; they went back into the store ten minutes later and purchased a drill kit worth $169.00 using the gift card; twenty minutes later, they pawned the drill kit.
    • April 19th – Tina Morrison, Dottie Mox, and Paul Mox, placed 2 chairs and a tent in their cart in the sporting goods section at Walmart; they passed all points of sale and took the items to the customer service desk; they returned it for a gift card valued at $223.00; they sold the gift card at a pawn shop.
    • April 20th – Tina Morrison, Dottie Mox, and Paul Mox, placed 3 sleeping bags in their cart in the sporting goods section at Walmart; they passed all points of sale and took the items to the customer service desk; they returned 2 sleeping bags for a gift card valued at $125.00 – they were denied a return for the third sleeping bag; they left the third sleeping bag in the cart and left the store; they sold the gift card at a pawn shop.
    • April 24th – Tina Morrison, Dottie Mox, and Paul Mox, placed 2 faucets in their cart at Home Depot; they passed all points of sale and took the items to the customer service desk; they returned the items for a gift card valued at $282.00; twenty minutes later they went back into the store and purchased a nail gun worth $249.00 using the gift card; thirty minutes later they pawned the nail gun.
    •  April 24th -Tina Morrison, Dottie Mox, and Paul Mox, placed a faucet in their cart at Lowes; they passed all points of sale and took it to the customer service desk; they returned it for a gift card valued at $255.00; Tina went back into the store and purchased a miter saw worth $218.00 using the gift card; an hour later later Tina pawned the miter saw.
    • April 25th – Tina Morrison placed an outdoor fan in her cart at Home Depot; she passed all points of sale and took the fan to the customer service desk; she returned the fan for a gift card valued at $180.00; forty-five minutes she went back into the store and purchased an impact wrench worth $169.00 using the gift card; thirty minutes later she pawned the power tool.
    • April 26th – Tina Morrison, Dottie Mox, and Paul Mox, placed a faucet and a showerhead in their cart at Home Depot; they passed all points of sale and took the items to the customer service desk; they returned the items for a gift card valued at $228.00; fifteen minutes later they went back into the store and purchased a saw worth $199.00 using the gift card; twenty minutes later they sold the saw at a pawn shop.
  • May 2017:
    • May 8th – Tina Morrison, Dottie Mox, and Heather Arlington, placed an outdoor canopy in their cart at Walmart; they passed all points of sale and took the items to the customer service desk; they returned it for a gift card valued at $170.00; thirty minutes later they sold the gift card at a pawn shop.
    • May 9th – Tina Morrison and Heather Arlington placed 3 sleeping bags in their cart at Walmart; they passed all points of sale and Morrison gave the cart to Arlington, who proceeded to the customer service counter; for an unknown reason, Arlington left the bags and her identification at the return desk and left the store with Morrison.
  • August 2017:
    • August 10th – Tina Morrison placed a tent in her cart at Walmart; she passed all points of sale and took it to the customer service desk; she returned it for a gift card valued at $191.00.
    •  August 12th – Tina Morrison placed a tent and sleeping bag in her cart at Walmart; she passed all points of sale and took it to the customer service desk; she returned it for a gift card valued at $234.00; fifteen minutes later she used the gift card to purchase a cup valued at $4.00; she sold the remaining balance on the card at a pawn shop.
    • August 14th – Tina Morrison placed a tent and 2 sleeping bags in her cart at Walmart; she passed all points of sale and took it to the customer service desk; she returned the tent but was denied a return on the sleeping bags; she was given a gift card valued at $191.00 for the tent – she left the cart with the sleeping bags in the store; she sold the gift card at a pawn shop.
    • August 16th – Tina Morrison entered a Home Depot store with no merchandise. Six minutes later, Morrison approached the Customer Service counter requesting a no-receipt return on a ceiling fan. Morrison was given a gift card valued at $180.00; she went to the sales floor, selected an impact wrench, and paid $169.00 for it using the gift card.
    • August 16th – Tina Morrison entered a Lowe’s store and picked up a chandelier valued at $229, approached the Customer Service counter, and attempted a no-receipt return. Her request was denied, and she left the store empty-handed.
    • August 16th – Tina Morrison and Robert Johnson entered a Home Depot store carrying no merchandise. Johnson approached the Customer Service counter with a fan, and requested a no-receipt return. Johnson was given a gift card in exchange, with a value of $212.00. Morrison and Johnson went to the sales floor and selected a Bluetooth Charger/Radio, and purchased it for $199.00 using the same gift card; Johnson sold the items at a pawn shop.
    • August 17th – Tina Morrison and Robert Johnson entered a Lowe’s store with no merchandise. They proceeded to the lighting department, then emerged from there with a chandelier, which they took to the Customer Service counter. Johnson requested a no-receipt return of the item, and received a gift card in exchange worth $212.00. Morrison and Johnson went back to the sales floor, picked out a 4-Tool kit, valued at $199.00, and purchased it with the gift card; Johnson sold the 4-Tool kit at a pawn shop.
    • August 17th – Tina Morrison and Robert Johnson entered a Home Depot store. Five minutes later, both approached the Customer Service counter with a light fixture, and Johnson requested a no-receipt return on the item. A gift card worth $245.00 was given to Johnson in exchange. Morrison and Johnson then went to the cashier and purchased a miter saw, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Reese’s Cup Minis, Coca-Cola, and a Powerade with the gift card; Johnson sold the miter saw at a pawn shop.
    •  August 17th – Tina Morrison and Robert Johnson entered a Home Depot store with no merchandise. Both entered the Customer Service line, and Morrison requested a no-receipt return on a chandelier. She was given a gift card valued at $266.00 in exchange. They returned to the sales floor, picked up an air compressor, then paid $229.00 for it, using the gift card.
    • August 18th – Tina Morrison and Robert Johnson entered a Home Depot store with no merchandise. Morrison took a ceiling fan to the Customer Service counter, while Johnson walked away. Morrison requested a no-receipt return on the fan, and was given a gift card valued at $223.00 in exchange. Morrison and Johnson returned to the sales floor and selected a table saw, which they purchased for $199.00 by using the gift card; Johnson sold the table saw at a pawn shop.
    •  August 18th – Tina Morrison and Robert Johnson entered a Lowe’s store with no merchandise. After picking up a chandelier in the lighting department, they moved to the Customer Service counter, where Johnson requested a no-receipt return. Johnson was given a gift card valued at $245.00. Tina Morrison and Robert Johnson returned to the sales floor, picked out a power tool, then paid for the $199.00 tool using the gift card; Johnson sold the power tool at a pawn shop.
    • August 19th – Tina Morrison and Robert Johnson entered a Home Depot store with no merchandise. Johnson requested a no-receipt return of a ceiling fan, as Morrison walked away. Johnson was given a gift card valued at $245.00 for the exchange. Morrison and Johnson purchased a tool box for $199.00, using the gift card; Johnson sold the tool box at a pawn shop.
    • August 19th – Tina Morrison and Robert Johnson entered a Lowe’s store with no merchandise. Both approached the Customer Service counter with a light fixture. Johnson requested to make a no-receipt refund, and was given a gift card valued at $223.00 in exchange. Morrison and Johnson returned to the sales floor, and picked up a 227-pc tool set. They purchased the set for $199.00, using Johnson’s gift card; Johnson sold the 227-pc tool set at a pawn shop.
    • August 21st – Tina Morrison went into a JC Penney store empty-handed. Morrison selected two comforters, then walked to the customer service desk, never attempting to pay. Morrison requested to return the items, and was given a gift card valued at $141.00.
    • August 21st – Tina Morrison entered a Home Depot store, and went to the Customer Service counter, where she made a no-receipt return of a chandelier. Morrison was given a gift card valued at $202.00. Morrison returned to the sales floor, and selected a cordless drill, which she then purchased for $159.00 using the gift card; Morrison sold the cordless drill at a pawn shop.
    • August 22nd – Tina Morrison entered a Home Depot store and went to the Customer Service counter, where she made a no-receipt return of a ceiling fan; Morrison was given a gift card in exchange, valued at $202.00. Morrison selected a rotary hammer tool and paid $189.00 for it using the same gift card she just received; Morrison took the rotary hammer tool to a pawn shop and sold it.
    • August 22nd – Tina Morrison and an unknown black male entered the JC Penney; Both picked up comforters, then Morrison took both comforters to the counter, requesting to make a return of the items. She received a gift card valued at $150.00, and sold the gift card to a pawn shop.
    • August 23rd – Tina Morrison entered a JC Penney store, and picked up two comforters from the bedding department; she approached the cashier and attempted to return the comforters, but was denied since she had made two recent returns of similar items without receipts.
    • August 23rd – Tina Morrison and Andrea Rios entered a WalMart; Morrison placed a tent into a shopping cart, and both women walk past all points of sale on their way to the returns desk; Rios returned the tent in exchange for a gift card of $191.53; Morrison sold the gift card to a pawn shop.
    •  August 23rd – Tina Morrison and Willie Solomon Jr went into the lighting department of Lowe’s, and picked up a chandelier; the pair went to the Customer Service counter, and Solomon returned the chandelier in exchange for a gift card valued at $212.00; Morrison and Solomon went back into the sales area and then purchased a 227-pc tool set using the very same gift card, and sold the gift card to a pawn shop.

 

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