Inter-store shoplifter chase results in arrestAccused faces one count of misdemeanor theft for allegedly trying to shoplift some DVDs, including “The Bionic Woman” and “Sweeney Todd.”
By: Justine Wettschreck, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Everyone likes a good movie, but one man who tried to escape on foot from Wal-Mart after shoplifting a handful of DVDs got more than he bargained for when an employee chased him all the way to ShopKo and held him until police arrived.
Daniel Jay Woitaszewski, 20, of Slayton, had been out of jail for little more than a month when he was arrested for shoplifting earlier this week. He is facing one count of misdemeanor theft for allegedly trying to shoplift some DVDs, including “The Bionic Woman” and “Sweeney Todd.”
When authorities arrived at Shopko at approximately 3:20 p.m. Tuesday, the Wal-Mart employee was standing in front of the store with Woitaszewski. He had chased the young man for about a quarter mile.
According to court documents, Woitaszewski allegedly admitted to the theft, telling the police officer, “Yeah, I stole the DVDs. Wow, am I stupid.”
He was released from the Nobles County Jail April 6 after serving a sentence for fourth-degree burglary and receiving stolen property.
He had pleaded guilty in October 2007 to the charges after being accused of breaking into the Escape Teen Center in Slayton Nov. 20, 2006, and into a liquor store in Slayton in Nov. 28, 2006.
At the teen center, Xbox consoles, games and controllers were stolen after the suspect broke out a window to gain entrance. In January 2007, a pawn slip was forwarded to the Slayton Police Department by the Worthington Police Department, indicating an Xbox with a matching serial number from one of those stolen was sold to a pawn shop in Worthington. Woitaszewski’s name and driver’s license info were collected when the item was pawned.
Entrance was gained into the liquor store by the suspect breaking the glass door on the building. Bottles of Jack Daniels and Jagermeister were stolen, along with two cases of beer. On Dec. 31, another burglary was attempted in a similar manner, but an audible alarm scared away the suspects before anything was taken.
Woitaszewski was stopped by an officer in Slayton in February 2007 for driving with a suspended license. A K-9 unit detected the smell of drugs, so the car was searched. During the search, marijuana was found, along with an Xbox controller, a video game labeled “teen center” and an empty liquor bottle of the same brand that was stolen from the liquor store. Charges were filed against Woitaszewski in April 2007.
He was sentenced Oct. 31, 2007, and ordered to report for jail on Jan. 1, 2008 for 135 days incarceration. Between those dates, he was charged with underage drinking and driving, possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle and open bottle in Carver County.
When arrested for shoplifting Tuesday, he was on probation from the burglary and stolen property sentence.
“I gave the DVDs back before I ran,” he told the arresting officer. “Doesn’t that count for anything?”
Wal-Mart declined to comment on the situation.
An arraignment on the theft charge is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Prairie Justice Center.