Cross-dressing suspect arrested for serial shoplifting
BATON ROUGE - Sheriff's deputies arrested a man this week after investigators said they caught him dressed as a woman in a Walmart vest trying to take items out of the store in Baton Rouge.
Deputies said they also believe 34-year-old Charlie Franklin pulled the same thing at an Iberville Walmart earlier this week, and said he'll face charges in both parishes.
Investigators said workers at the Cortana Place store first spotted Franklin on April 8 pushing a cart around and placing several high-dollar items in it. They said he was wearing a blue Walmart smock and acted like he was stocking shelves in order to avoid notice. When a worker saw Franklin leaving with the items and yelled at him, deputies said he pushed the cart to his car and fled, abandoning the stolen merchandise in the parking lot.
On April 13 the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office said someone matching Franklin's description did the same thing at the Plaquemine Walmart, posing as an employee to steal items while a second person did the same thing. Deputies there said the two made off with $1,400 in merchandise and left in a white Ford Explorer. At the time, the sheriff's office said on social media they believed the two shoplifters were both women.
Then on April 15, worker at the Cortana Place Walmart saw Franklin back again at the business, wearing the same outfit and smock he had on April 8. The worker told deputies after they watched Franklin again act like he was stocking items and then try to leave without paying for them, they confronted him and brought him to the loss prevention office.
Deputies who spoke to Franklin said he admitted to taking the items out of the store, but noted he didn't make it off the property with the items. Workers told the deputies that Franklin had been caught shoplifting from Walmart six times in the past and had a lifetime ban from all their stores. Deputies said they also found out Franklin had a bench warrant for his arrest on felony theft charges and unauthorized entry of a business.
Franklin was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish jail. Investigators said he will be transferred to the Iberville Parish jail to face charges there at a later date.