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Peck

Police: Man attempted to conceal machete stolen from Walmart in pants

BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon man was arrested this week after allegedly attempting to shoplift a machete from Walmart.

James Peck, 40, was arrested for shoplifting second offense, a misdemeanor; resisting arrest, a misdemeanor; and two counts of failure to register as a sex offender, lifetime registrant, second offense, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by investigating officer Lt. Doug Loudin with the Buckhannon Police Department on Tuesday, Jan. 21, Peck allegedly walked into the Buckhannon Walmart, concealed a machete in his pants and walked past the last point of sale without paying for the merchandise.

The complaint says the approximate value of the machete was $26.82. (Loudin’s report says Peck was convicted of first offense shoplifting in Buckhannon on April 19, 2016.)

The files goes on to say that Peck allegedly resisted arrest when Loudin was attempting to confront him about the shoplifting charge and pat him down for weapons. Peck allegedly attempted to walk away from Loudin and Buckhannon Police Chief Matt Gregory. According to the report, when Loudin attempted to stop him and place his hands on the wall, Peck pulled away in an attempt to keep Loudin from placing handcuffs on him.

The file says Peck was then taken to the ground and placed in handcuffs, at which point Peck allegedly informed Loudin he had stolen the machete and concealed it in his pants, in addition to a knife, which he’d placed in his coat pocket.

Peck was also arrested on two outstanding felony charges – two counts of failure to register as a sex offender, second offense – when Loudin apprehended him in Walmart, Loudin told My Buckhannon.

According to that criminal complaint filed by investigating officer Trooper P.J. Robinette with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police, on Oct. 29, 2019 Robinette returned a phone call to an Upshur County probation officer who said she’d called to report a possible sex offender violation concerning Peck. The probation office said Peck’s sister was under her supervision and had informed her that Peck was allegedly not residing at the residence provided on his sex offender registry.

The files say that on Oct. 30, 2019 Robinette accessed the West Virginia State Police Sex Offender Registry to confirm Peck’s sex offender status as a lifetime registrant. Robinette also saw that Peck’s last update to his registry had occurred Aug. 14, 2019, when he had updated his employer.

According to the report, on Nov. 1, 2019 at approximately 7:15 p.m., Robinette contacted a relative of Peck’s with whom he was last living. Robinette asked to speak with Peck, at which point the relative said Peck had not stayed at her residence since Aug. 26, 2019, and that she hadn’t had any contact with Peck since he left. Robinette asked about two phone numbers listed on his sex offender registry, and the relative told him one number was the house landline number and the other was what she believed to be his cellphone.

Based on the information provided, Peck was in violation of his sex offender registry on Aug. 12, 2019, 10 days prior to leaving the address listed as his home address. Peck was also in violation once more on Sept. 9, 2019 for failing to delete the landline number for the residence within 10 business days after his moving, Robinette documented in the report.

Bail was set at $10,000 for each charge of failure to register sex offender, second offense, and $2,500 for resisting arrest and $2,500 for shoplifting, second offense.

If convicted, Peck faces confinement in a state correctional facility for not less than 10 years nor more than 25 years on each count of failure to register as a sex offender, second offense. In addition, the penalty for a conviction of resisting arrest is a fine of not less than $50 nor more than $500, confinement in jail for not more than one year or both.

The penalty for shoplifting, second offense, is a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 and/or confinement in jail not more than six months, restitution of $50 or double the amount of merchandise, whichever is higher.

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