By Jim Clark
Police responded to a call from the Walgreen’s on Beacon St. that a suspected shoplifter had fled the store.
The responding officer was told that a woman was observed putting five cans of baby formula, each one valued at $16, into a bag and leaving the store without paying.
The officer queried the license plate number of the car that the woman left in and determined that it was registered to Ketra Tatum, 38, of Medford.
While the officer was still at the store, a woman phoned saying that she was Tatum’s mother and asked what her daughter had stolen.
The investigating officer believed that the woman on the phone was the actual shoplifting suspect and he advised the woman that the stolen items should be returned to the store ar else he would have to file charges of shoplifting. The officer also reportedly said that if the items were returned that he would let her walk out the door, allowing the store to handle any criminal or civil charges.
The woman reportedly said that her daughter would call back, but this never happened.
The officer left the store for a short time, but returned awhile later to find the woman in question at the store, attempting to return some of the missing items, police said.
The woman reportedly told the officer that she had talked with her mother, who then convinced her to return the stolen items to the store.
The officer advised the woman that he believed that he had actually spoken to her on the phone and that he knew it was not her mother on the line with him, according to reports.
Tatum eventually reportedly admitted that this was so, but due to the fact that she had not returned all of the stolen items she was placed under arrest and charged with shoplifting by asportation.