JAMES TERRY HAIRSTON
ROGERSVILLE — Police nabbed a North Carolina man in Rogersville on Saturday who is accused of being a prolific Walmart shoplifter wanted in four states.
James Terry Hairston’s vehicle allegedly contained thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from as many as eight different stores.
Shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday, Hairston allegedly attempted to walk out of the Rogersville Walmart with a storage container stuffed with video games, DVDs and Blu-Rays valued at more than $2,300.
According to a report filed by RPD detective Joey Maddox, video surveillance showed Hairston, 47, of Thomasville, N.C., putting what was later determined to be 52 video games and movies into a plastic storage container in his buggy and then pushing the buggy to the automotive department of the store.
The fire alarm was set off, and video reportedly shows Hairston returning to the general merchandise area of the store without the buggy.
Store employees found the storage container and stolen items just outside an emergency door that had apparently set off the alarm.
Rogersville Police Department Officers Jim Shanks and Pat Johnson responded to the store and reportedly found Hairston lying on the floor in the buggy storage area at the front of the store.
Hairston allegedly gave a false name and birth date, but police later determined his true identity. Hairston allegedly admitted that he had given his cousin’s name and birth date.
Hairston gave a statement that he went to Walmart to get something to eat and ate some grapes and a plum in the produce section without paying for them.
He then allegedly admitted he put the video games and movies in the storage container so he could give them to his family.
RPD Detective Charlie Gibson said Hairston’s vehicle was seized, and upon searching its contents, police allegedly found eight bags of stolen Walmart merchandise.
“Those bags inside his vehicle did not come from this Walmart,” Gibson said. “They came from other Walmarts, and right now we’re in the process of trying to find out exactly where this merchandise came from. He has no receipts for the merchandise in his vehicle, so I think it’s safe to assume it is stolen as well. The bags were filled with the same type of items that he stole from our Walmart, but a lot more volume.”
Gibson added, “We found eight bags in that car. There was three big bags and the rest of them were small, but we do know from our Walmart security man that the value of merchandise in each of those big bags is going to be in the vicinity of $3,000 to $5,000 apiece.”
Gibson said the overall value of merchandise found in Hairston’s vehicle should easily surpass $10,000 and might be closer to $15,000.
A computer check revealed Hairston was wanted in Giles County, Va., on four counts of felony theft, and there are also outstanding warrants from Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, although those specific charges weren’t available.
He was charged by Rogersville police with theft over $1,000, criminal impersonation and a fugitive warrant.
As of Tuesday, Hairston remained held in the Hawkins County jail without bond pending a hearing in Sessions Court set for Monday.