ELDERSBURG, Md. - Prices may be falling at the Walmart on Liberty Road in Eldersburg, but not nearly to the level a mild-manner senior citizen received.
Franklin Rheubottom faces up to 30 years in prison if he’s convicted on charges he repeatedly stole merchandise from the store.
"Police received information that there was a possible theft ring going on within the Walmart in Eldersburg where a 70-year old Carroll County man was coming in and getting merchandise and not paying for all of it."
According to charging documents, police became aware of the scheme after an employee reported seeing a cashier allowing the customer to leave with far more items than he paid for.
Rheubottom told detectives that he shops at the Walmart three times per week and that if the cashier failed to charge him for any goods, he wasn’t aware of it.
But the cashier in question, Teresa Long, said Rheubottom had threatened her safety and that of her children if she failed to play along, and she had watched him steal more than $2,000 worth of goods in the last three months alone.
"Police believe that this theft may have been going on for several years totaling up to about $30,000 worth of merchandise, which is what they found out at this juncture. So in that case, yes, this is a felony theft."
Reached by telephone, Rheubottom told us he never stole anything.
He said he and Long are friends, that he’s sold her a car and even found her a place to live in the past and that she and another cashier are the ones who have been caught stealing in recent months.
Investigators did find evidence of another cashier failing to charge long for items, but the total value was $171.76.
It’s a far cry from the $30,000 that Rheubottom is alleged to have taken.
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