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BUCKS COUNTY ARREST

The thefts occurred on two occasions in 2023.

Car dealership employee used company cars to drive to Giant, steal hundreds in groceries, police say

Crime & Public Safety.

  • Public Safety

New Britain Township Police said in a recent affidavit filed in Bucks County court that a Philadelphia man not only admitted to stealing $331 in merchandise from the County Line Road Giant Food Store on May 11, but also doing it two other times last year, all while using cars on his company’s dealership lot.

James Ivan Smith, 57, of the 2700 block of South 71st Street, who has three prior retail theft convictions, faces three felony retail theft charges and three misdemeanor receiving stolen property charges by police for the incidents that occurred between March 2023 and May 2024 at the Giant Food Store at 4275 County Line Road, Chalfont, Bucks County, according to court records.

Police allege Smith stole $235.30 in groceries on March 15, 2023, $129.80 in groceries on Oct. 26, 2023, and finally a third time on May 11.

Smith is free on $25,000 unsecured bail, set by Magisterial District Judge Regina Armitage at a May 28 arraignment, per court records.

On May 12, police responded to the grocery store for a retail theft report, according to the complaint. Store loss prevention told police an adult male, identified as Smith, police said, entered the store the day prior, and made selections of merchandise including Tide pods, paper products, and soda.

Smith, authorities allege, put the items in a cart, totaling $311.52, and left the store without paying. Witnesses, police said, took photos of Smith’s red Jeep Patriot and license plate as it fled the scene. A receipt of the value of the stolen merchandise and a photograph and video of Smith was given to police, according to the affidavit.

Police discovered the license plate came back registered to a local dealership, police said, and thus, police contacted them. The dealership told police it would investigate the driver of the vehicle, per the complaint. Later that day, police received a call from the dealership from Smith, police said.

Smith, police said, told them he was the driver of the red Jeep Patriot and frequently drives the vehicle, among others.

When asked by police if he had gone to the Giant Food Store on May 11, Smith said yes, according to the complaint. When police asked him if he had purchased items, Smith said no, police said. When they asked Smith if he had left Giant with items he did not purchase, he said yes, police said.

On May 20, Smith went to police headquarters, and retold his statement to police, according to the complaint. When shown a picture of the red Jeep Patriot involved in the May 11 theft, Smith said he was driving the car, police said. Police also showed Smith surveillance video of inside the store, and admitted it was him, police allege.

Police suspected Smith was the defendant in two prior retail theft incidents in 2023, per the complaint.

On March 15, 2023, at 4:14 p.m., at the Giant Food Store, police said Smith is seen selected merchandise including frozen shrimp, salmon steaks, Miller Lite, and eggs. Smith, police allege, walked out with the merchandise and left in a newer red Jeep Cherokee.

On Oct. 26, 2023, at 12:57 p.m., police allege Smith entered the Giant Food Store and selected various items of merchandise, including paper towels, toilet paper, water and soap, and left the store without paying.

Police ran the license plate via Bucks County Radio Data, and it revealed the plate was used on the Jeep Patriot and on a newer model Jeep Grand Cherokee, police said.

When shown screenshots of the two 2023 incidents at Giant, Smith admitted it was him and then said he had stolen from the Giant about two to three times in the past, police said. Smith, per the complaint, also admitted to having access to numerous vehicles through his job.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled before Armitage on July 9 at 3 p.m.

author

Tony Di Domizio

Tony Di Domizio is the Managing Editor of NorthPennNow and PerkValleyNow, and a staff writer for WissNow. Tony graduated from Kutztown University and went on to serve as a reporter and editor for various news organizations, including Patch, The Reporter, and The Morning Call. He loves creative writing, action figure collecting & reselling, music, and films with Michael Keaton & Al Pacino.

Monday, June 24, 2024
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