Mount Pleasant men charged with theft attempt using fake Wal-Mart receipts

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram Crime Reporter

Jan. 30, 2008 - Two Titus County men spent the night in Hopkins County jail for forgery and possession of methamphetamine after they were caught trying to steal computer equipment using fake receipts at Wal-Mart, according to police reports.

Tolbert Don Rhea, 36, of Mount Pleasant and Harold Jackson Smith III, 31, of Cookville were arrested at 5:38 p.m. in the 1400 block of Mockingbird Lane by officer Jameison Hawkins for forgery and possession of a controlled substance, and on a Dallas County theft warrant.

Rhea is also wanted in Upshur County on a warrant for bond forfeiture.

Officers received information of a theft at Wal-Mart at 5:20 p.m. Tuesday. Smith reportedly attempted to exit the store using a fictitious receipt and a buggy loaded with more than $300 in merchandise. He showed the door greeter a receipt and left the store.

Rhea presented a receipt on the other side of the store, but the greeter identified the receipt as a fake, according to police.

Both men ran from the store. Smith apparently got items out of the store and got into a vehicle in the parking lot. Rhea ran from the property.

A short while later, officers received information that one of the subjects, later identified as Rhea, was seen getting into a pickup in the 1400 block of Mockingbird Lane. Police located both men and took them back to Wal-Mart, where they were positively identified by store personnel.

A records check by police dispatchers confirmed the warrants, and both were arrested on those charges as well as on the Wal-Mart forgery charge.

Two computers were found in the vehicle. There were also scanners with store tags from out-of-town stores. It appeared they were being used to make fake receipts. A quantity of crystal methamphetamine was also found in the truck, resulting in an additional charge for possession of a controlled substance.

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