NWGA Scanner | May 28th, 2021

South Carolina fugitive takes meth to jail after shoplifting over $700 in merchandise from Dalton Walmart

According to a Dalton Police Department incident report, on May 14th, 2021, at around 12:48 PM, Officer Selby was dispatched to Walmart located at 815 Shugart Road in reference to a shoplifter. The officer arrived and met with the loss prevention associate. Officer Selby reported, “As soon as [I] walked in the store, the associate pointed to a white Dodge Journey and said that the male getting into that vehicle is the male who has been shoplifting.” The officer then got in his patrol vehicle and pulled in behind his vehicle, which had a Tennessee tag. The officer then made contact with the male, later identified as Ryan Austin Wofford, 38, of Cookeville, Tennessee. Officer Selby reported, “He was eating a taco as [I] walked up and had no clue [I] was there as [I] had to knock on the window for him to notice me. [I] asked him what was going on, and he said he was just shopping with his fiancé.” The officer noticed there to be a brand new 55-inch tv in the back. The officer also observed other items in boxes as if they were brand new. He then pulled out a receipt, but the receipt was not from Walmart. Ryan was fidgeting and starting to take his jacket off. Officer Selby reported, “In my experience, when people start fidgeting or shedding clothing, they are getting ready to fight or run. Both of these things were not what [I] was wishing to do, so [I] asked him to step out of the vehicle.” Wofford was then detained and was walked back to the loss prevention office. The officer ran the male’s identification card was through Tennessee, and it showed Ryan two have a warrant through South Carolina. Dispatched advised that the warrant was valid, and they did wish to place a hold on Wofford. The associate then showed the officer video where Ryan walked to the self check out the area with several items. Concealed inside the cooler were several items. He began to scan items, but he then skips scanned one item, which caused the self check out an employee to confront him. Ryan then claimed that the part he did not purchase was going to be part of the scan and go app that his fiancé was doing. The associate explained that the employee scanned the item he skipped, which would show on her tablet if it was a scan-and-go item. The item was not a scan-and-go item. The video showed Ryan concealed items in the cooler and tried to skip scan the air gun, which was observed on the video footage by the officer. Officer Selby reported, “Once [I] had been told that South Carolina wished to place a hold on Ryan [I] then advised him that he was now under arrest which he began yelling he was not going. [I] attempted to try and read him his Miranda warning, which he would not let me. Due to this, [I] did not ask him any questions about this case. Due to him saying he was not going to jail and the possible use of force to occur, [I] then asked Sgt. Goines to arrive.” Due to the total amount being above $500, he was charged with a felony. The items that were in the shopping cart that Ryan did not pay for or skip scanned totaled $705. 28 without tax. Ryan was transported to the Whitfield County Jail, charged with fugitive from justice, felony shoplifting, possession of meth, crossing the guard line. Ryan’s fiancé, who also shoplifted, was later identified, and warrants will be obtained.