By Conrad Dudderar
Most stores require – or at least “strongly encourage” – people to wear facemasks when entering their businesses to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Interestingly, a south Oklahoma City man has been charged with a felony for being masked inside a Yukon retailer while allegedly committing a crime. In this case, the masked “customer” allegedly was up to no good, court documents indicate.
Jeremy Phillip Brown, 43, was charged Feb. 2 in Canadian County District Court with two counts of entering premises while masked and two counts of larceny of merchandise from a retailer.
Prosecutors charged Brown for crimes they claim he committed on Oct. 9 and Oct. 24, 2020 at the Walmart Supercenter, 1200 Garth Brooks Blvd.
The defendant twice entered the premises of the Yukon Walmart store “with the intent to inflict injury to the property of Walmart while masked or in disguise,” court documents indicate.
Ironically, Walmart has a company policy requiring its employees and anyone entering its stores to don face coverings.
Brown allegedly stole merchandise from the retail mercantile establishment – video games and shampoo on Oct. 9 and hard drives on Oct. 24.
Oklahoma state law reads, “Any person, masked or in disguise, who shall enter upon the premises of another or demand admission into the house or enclosure of another (with intent to inflict bodily injury, or injury to property) shall be deemed guilty of assault with intent to commit a felony and such entrance or demand for admission shall be prima facie evidence of such intent, and upon conviction thereof, such person shall be guilty of a felony …”
CAUGHT ON TAPE
A Yukon police officer was dispatched to the Yukon Walmart at about 5:08 p.m. Nov. 20 in response to the larcenies.
“The defendant concealed merchandise on two separate occasions totaling approximately $626.55,” according to a probable cause affidavit. “The defendant passed all points of sale without attempting to pay for the merchandise.”
Walmart’s loss prevention officer told Yukon Police that Brown on Nov. 20 again shoplifted and walked to the parking lot, according to the affidavit. The loss prevention officer reportedly had recognized Brown from surveillance video footage taken during the previous heists.
The felony crime of entering premises while masked is punishable by one to five years in prison and a $50-$500 fine.
The misdemeanor crime of shoplifting is punishable by up to 30 days in the county jail and a $50-$500 fine.
Canadian County Special Judge Charles Gass has issued a warrant for Brown’s arrest, setting bond at $12,000.
Brown has previous misdemeanor convictions in Oklahoma County for petty larceny, passing a bogus check and drug possession.