Barbour County man allegedly signs false name on shoplifting citation at Walmart

BUCKHANNON – A Barbour County man was arrested for allegedly giving a false name to police officers after attempting to shoplift.

Lucas W. Leary, 28, of Philippi, W.Va., was arrested for two counts of forgery or uttering, a felony, and obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by Patrolman Jonathan Warner with the Buckhannon Police Department, on May 27, 2023, the E911 Upshur County Communication Center dispatched a call regarding alleged shoplifting at Walmart. Upon arrival, Asset Protection Lead Michael Wright informed Sgt. Tom Posey and Warner about the events that transpired.

Wright stated that Leary was allegedly attempting to use a magnet to unlock protected items in the store. Upon questioning, Leary allegedly gave police a false name, saying his name was Joseph Isaiah Leary. Warner issued a citation for first-offense shoplifting, which is a misdemeanor, according to West Virginia Code.

A criminal background check was conducted on the name Joseph Isaiah Leary, and no prior convictions for shoplifting were listed under that name. Wright, the Asset Protection Lead, and another Asset Protection employee used social media images to determine Leary’s true identity, the criminal complaint says. In addition, the report states that officers asked Leary multiple times if the name he had signed on the citation was his true identity, and he reportedly told police his name was ‘Joseph’ and denied having the name ‘Lucas.’

Leary signed the citation under the name of Joseph Isaiah Leary. He was then questioned again about the name he had signed on the citation, at which point he allegedly admitted his name was, in fact, Lucas Wayne Leary.

Bail was set at $33,000 cash or surety by Upshur County Magistrate Alan Suder.

The penalty for forgery or uttering is confinement in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than 10 years, or, in the discretion of the court, confinement in jail for not more than one year and a fine of up to $500.

The penalty for obstructing is a fine ranging between $50 and $500, confinement in jail for up to a year or both.

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