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Police Dispatch

A Real Steal

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Rincon Beat

August 21, 7:07 p.m.

A man put great effort (and risk) into getting a small discount on a shirt while at an already low-priced, nonprofit thrift store (whose goal, ironically, is to help to people in financial strife), according to a Pima Country Sheriff's Department report.

Sheriff's deputies responded to a local Goodwill store, where a customer had asserted that he'd smelled a man in the bathroom apparently "smoking something ... (with) a strong chemical smell."

Employees said the man had exited the bathroom and directed deputies to a dressing room, where they knocked. The man opened the door wearing a clean white shirt, and said he hadn't been smoking in the bathroom but actually "burning some strings off his shorts" (for some poorly explained reason).

As it turned out after deputies identified the man, he already had a warrant out for his arrest. But first they had to ensure he was wearing his own clothes before arresting him.

When asked which of the numerous shirts in the dressing room belonged to the subject, he grabbed a sweat-stained black shirt ... which deputies thought odd because it had a tag on it (and Goodwill washes its clothing). They then noticed a tag sitting on the bench that wasn't attached to a shirt, and the piece of plastic that would've held the tag to the shirt "appeared to have been burnt ... and was missing the end."

Examining the tag on the sweaty shirt, one deputy deduced that it had been falsely attached: "The end appeared to have been burned and pressed onto the sleeve and melted to the shirt."

Asked if he was sure that particular shirt was his, the man changed his mind and claimed that he'd actually been wearing a clean black shirt, which apparently didn't have a tag. But when he was putting that one on, deputies saw that he'd apparently removed the tag even from the white shirt he'd first been wearing, since a suspicious fragment of its plastic attachment was protruding from the shirt's bottom.

Finally the man admitted to having gone into the bathroom to switch the tag from the clean black shirt to his sweaty black shirt, as well as to trying to remove the tag from the white shirt—apparently having used a lighter to burn the plastic that attached the tags.

After he begrudgingly donned his own sweaty shirt, he was escorted to jail.

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