BATTLE CREEK, Mich. - Three people are charged with shoplifting after Battle Creek police said they stole items from a store and tried selling them on Facebook.
The trio were arrested when they were met by undercover officers posing as buyers.
"This is the second we have had in two weeks where property was posted on Facebook after recently being stolen," Detective Sgt. Todd Elliott of the Battle Creek Police Department said Friday.
Jeremy Thrasher and his fiance, Jenna Taylor, both 19, of Portage, have been arraigned in Calhoun County District Court on charges of retail fraud and possession of marijuana and heroin. Aaron Taylor, 17, of Nottawa, is charged with receiving and concealing stolen property.
All three were arrested Wednesday while they were waiting in a parking lot at Pier 1 Imports at 5800 Beckley Road for people they thought wanted to buy the stolen items.
Police said Thrasher and Jenna Taylor had both advertised on Facebook marketplace the sale of two electric scooters; one for $130 and the other for $180.
But officers said both scooters, valued at a total of $529, were stolen about 3:18 p.m. Tuesday from the Meijer Inc. store at 2191 W. Columbia Ave.
A witness told store officials she saw a man and woman leave the store with the electric scooters and several other items in a shopping car and place them in a green Buick LeSabre and she provided the license plate.
Store officials in Portage and Sturgis told police the couple were suspects in thefts at those stores.
Battle Creek police from the department's Fusion Center began searching sites like Facebook marketplace and found what they believed were the items stolen from Battle Creek and officers contacted the couple by messages, posing as buyers.
They agreed to meet Thrasher and Taylor but instead of buying, they arrested them as well as Aaron Taylor, who was with them in the car.
Police seized the scooters and clothing they said was stolen from the Battle Creek store as well as two television sets taken from the Meijer Inc., store at 6405 B Drive N., in Emmett Township. Police also seized a crossbow, arrow heads, hunting knife, and other hunting items and additional merchandise police believe were taken from Portage and Sturgis stores.
"We have seen that a lot," Elliott said. "They will drive up and down I-94 and hit numerous stores and sometimes an agency will catch them."
During a search of the car police said they found marijuana and heroin. All three were taken to the Calhoun County jail and are scheduled to appear for preliminary examinations later this month.
Elliott said shoppers should be wary of items for sale, especially on internet sites like Facebook.
"Be suspect when the items are new and still boxed and can be bought readily in stores," he said. "When people are selling new or boxed items for one half or one third of the price be very suspicious of that."
Contact Trace Christenson at 269-966-0685 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter:@TSChristenson
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