Barbour County man arrested for allegedly stealing totes from Walgreens dumpster enclosure

BUCKHANNON – A Barbour County man was arrested for allegedly stealing totes from the Buckhannon Walgreens enclosure.

Thomas Summers, 34, of Peeltree, W.Va., was arrested for entry of a structure other than a dwelling, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by Sgt. W.J. Courtney with the Buckhannon Police Department, on Feb. 6, 2023, Courtney and Sgt. Tom Posey, also with the BPD, were on patrol when they witnessed Summers exit the parking lot by Walgreens onto West Main Street.

Summers was reportedly riding a bike with a garden cart attached to the rear, and inside the cart, there were blue, red, and green plastic totes, the police report says. Posey informed Courtney that he had seen the cart earlier, and it was empty at the time. The officers pulled into the Walgreens parking lot and located their gated dumpster enclosure. Inside the enclosure, there were two dumpsters and an area to the left of the dumpsters that contained more of the same plastic totes that the officers had seen on the garden cart Summers was pulling.

Based on the suspicion that Summers had allegedly just stolen the plastic totes, the officers pulled back onto the roadway to look for him and subsequently located him on Main Street. They conducted a stop as he turned onto North Spring Street.

Upon stopping him, the officers asked Summers where he obtained the plastic totes, and he claimed that he found the totes on the cart, the file says. Courtney had the E911 Upshur County Communication Center contact a Walgreens’ representative to check if the totes were from the store. While the Comm Center was working on that, Courtney began to visually inspect the totes and noted the presence of a Walgreens sticker on the side.

Posey spoke with the store manager, who also confirmed the totes were used by Walgreens for delivery. There were eleven totes recovered with an estimated value of $120.

The next day, Feb. 7, 2023, the Buckhannon police officers met with the Walgreens manager and obtained a video recording of the incident. According to the report, the video allegedly showed Summers walk the bike to the last gate where the totes were stored, open the gate and load the totes onto the cart attached to his bicycle. He then left through the Community Care of West Virginia parking lot adjacent to Walgreens.

The Walgreens manager told police the totes are reused for delivery of their products, and they are billed for the totes. Additionally, he advised the officers there appeared to be approximately 30 totes still missing.

Upshur County Magistrate Alan Suder set bail at $10,000 cash or surety.

The penalty for a conviction of entry of a structure other than a dwelling is confinement in a state correctional facility for no less than one year nor more than 10 years.

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