Madison HeightsJune 19, 2012
Shoplifter gets in fight with loss prevention officer
By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer
A Sterling Heights man, determined to make off with a drill he did not buy, got into a scuffle with loss prevention and is now in police custody.
James Argyris, 23, of Sterling Heights, was arraigned by Magistrate Kimberly Wilson in Madison Heights 43rd District Court on Tuesday, June 19.
He is charged with one count of felony retail fraud, first degree, a five-year felony and/or $10,000 fine or the value of property stolen, whichever is greater, and one count of assault and battery, a 93-day misdemeanor and/or $500 fine.
Argyris has prior misdemeanor offenses, including a retail fraud conviction. He is being held on a $5,500 cash or surety bond.
This latest incident occurred at the Home Depot at 660 W. 12 Mile around 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 16. Argyris walked into the store and went to the power tool aisle, where he selected a DeWalt hammer drill. Then he went to another area of the store and picked up a pair of scissors, which he used to cut the sensor tag off the merchandise.
The alarm was triggered, putting the store on alert. Argyris quickly left the area but kept the drill with him. He went to the garden center where an employee approached him asking if he needed help. He tried to return the merchandise but was told he couldn’t do so without a receipt.
At this point Argyris tried to exit the store without paying for the drill. Just outside the store doors, a loss prevention officer confronted him and asked him to return inside. The suspect refused and grabbed the loss prevention officer by the throat.
“The LPO grabbed his arms and was eventually able to scuffle with him, putting him in a reverse bear hug, falling to the ground in the scuffle, knocking over some plants,” said Madison Heights Police Lt. Corey Haines. “The LPO was able to hold him on the ground until police arrived.
“This doesn’t happen all that often, but it has happened in the past,” Haines said of store skirmishes. “Thankfully, in this particular case, the LPO was able to prevent the suspect from harming him any further than he did.”
The loss prevention officer had been suspicious of Argyris from the moment he entered the store, noting Argyris looked nervous, glancing at the various security cameras and the different associates around the store.
Before confronting Argyris, the loss prevention officer had advised one of the garden center employees to call police. Numerous people witnessed the skirmish, police said.
“The suspect has been arrested for retail frauds before,” Haines said. “My assumption is (the fight) was an attempt to get away. He did not want to be apprehended again.”
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