Shoplifting on the rise the week before Christmas, 5 arrested at outlet mall

Okaloosa County

DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Shopping is up at the outlet malls, and so is shoplifting. Walton County deputies say a Silver Sands Outlet shopper called in a tip about a man throwing an arm full of clothes into a U-Haul.

After deputies searched the area, they arrested three people from Quincy, Fla., for shoplifting. Deputies also found a firearm and 14 grams of cocaine inside the vehicle.

Booked December 16:

  • Alaundrea Betsey, 25, is charged with drug possession and engaging in a crime with a weapon. Betsey posted bond is awaiting trial.
  • Travis Herring, 39, is charged with possession of a weapon by convicted felon, drug possession and engaging in a crime with a weapon. Herring posted bond is awaiting trial.
  • Vonderious Boyd, 27, is charged with retial theft of more than $750 and resisting arrest. Boyd is being held on a $100,000 bond and is awaiting trial.

A few days later, a group from Opp, Ala., were caught with $1,800 in stolen items.

Booked December 17:

  • Heith Fountain, 43, has a long history with Walton County Jail. Fountain has bonded out on multiple theft charges and the use of an anti-shoplifting control device.
  • Tanya Wills, 36, is facing multiple threft charges and has also posted bond.

Deputies say theft crimes increase every December at the outlet mall. This year, they added extra patrol to keep shoppers safe.

“We got SRD’s out there, we got patrol out there, we got people on bikes, we have them roving. We have foot patrol that actually goes into the stores so we have a presence out there,” Walton County Deputy Allen Pullings said. “Hopefully, we can deter it.”

Deputy Pullings says the mall owner has a policy for employees to not approach someone they believe to be stealing.

Deputies say this keeps theft incidents from turning physical but does not stop them.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) says if you see anything suspicious while shopping, call them at 850-892-8111 to check it out.

Below is the body camera footage from WCSO on December 15 and December 17.

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