Police net 7 in separate capers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 6, 2006


Selma police arrested seven individuals in two capers that went wrong over the tax-free shopping weekend.

Wal-Mart captured one employee on its video surveillance system giving cash to two men on two separate incidents. J.C. Penny was victimized by four women who almost got away.

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Two sisters questioned by police about the Penny’s caper gave false identities, which landed them in even more trouble, officials said.

Mardrisha Houston, 21, was arrested and charged with second degree theft of property, until authorities discovered her real name was Passie Houston. She was then charged with giving a false name to law enforcement.

Sharan Houston, 29, was arrested and charged with second degree theft of property. Police discovered her real name was LaQuita Houston, who had two outstanding misdemeanor warrants for her arrest. Both sisters had prior arrests for theft, police said. Both sisters gave an address of 219 Mechanic St.

Santossa Whatley, 28, was charged with second degree theft of property. Dorothy Lee Peterson, 18, of 6512 Co. Rd. 84, was arrested and charged with second degree theft of property.

The J.C. Penny Co. arrests were made by off-duty officers who were working undercover security details at the Selma Mall. The suspects apparently concealed shirts, pants and other clothing valued at approximately $500 and exited the store, according to police reports.

“These women were apprehended in the parking lot,” said Police Chief Jimmy Martin. “Police officers interviewed them. That’s when they tried to give false names. When they learned their correct names, the two sisters picked up felony charges.”

Martin said there was possibly a fifth person involved and the investigation is ongoing.

In a separate incident,

a Wal-Mart front-end cashier was arrested and charged with theft of cash.

Angela Michelle Gunn, 28, of 205 Tucker St., was arrested and held on $3,000 bond after she was observed on video handing more than $4,000 in cash to two men on two separate incidents.

JaCarlos DeQuan Gunn, 26, and Nathaniel Jerome Simmons, 29, both also listing an address of 205 Tucker St., were arrested and charged with theft.

Both men were held on $1,500 bond each.

Police said Angela Gunn was working the cash register when the two men were observed making a minor purchase, then handed an inordinate amount of change.

Selma detectives are working with Wal-Mart loss prevention personnel to determine if other incidents will be prosecuted.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” Martin said. “There are other persons of interest that will be interviewed.”