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Monday, March 27, 2017
Multiple charges result from shoplifting in progress call
Multiple charges were issued against two individuals last week when sheriff's deputies answered a shoplifting-in-progress call.
Deputies with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department were dispatched to the Dollar General Store located at 4451 Pulaski Highway where an employee reported the suspicious actions of a couple inside. He said that when the female suspect entered the store her purse appeared to be empty. Since she had been walking around inside the store, he said he noticed that it now appeared to be full.
When the deputy approached the pair, identified as Crystal Denise Townsend, 38, who said she was homeless, and James Robert Vitagliano of Fall River Road, he reports that they appeared to be "very startled." He said that he was able to clearly see items of store merchandise inside of Townsend's purse.
The deputy checked the purse and found that several items had been concealed inside, including panties, bras, crew shirts, sleep socks, body wash, and two hats. When he questioned her about how she intended to pay for the merchandise, Townsend allegedly told him that "she wasn't going to pay for them."
The pair had collected a large number of food items in their shopping cart. Townsend told the deputy that she had a food stamp card to pay for the food, but that she had no money to pay for the other items.
While speaking with the pair, reports show that deputies discovered that Vitagliano had concealed a flashlight in his pocket, as well.
A search of Vitagliano's vehicle was conducted during which deputies report finding three syringes and a spoon bearing drug residue. Deputies noted that he "was under the influence of what appeared to be meth." He was subsequently arrested on charges that include public intoxication, shoplifting, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
During the investigation deputies found that there was an active warrant against Townsend for failure to appear in court. She was arrested on the warrant as well as a charge of shoplifting.
Both Townsend and Vitagliano were transported to the Lawrence County Detention Center for incarceration.