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Shoplifter facing felony charge for burglary tools

WORTHINGTON -- James Michael Pedersen, convicted twice for theft since 2008, is facing more charges after being arrested Wednesday at ShopKo.

The complaint, filed Friday in Nobles County District Court, states authorities were dispatched to the store shortly before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and informed that the suspects in a theft case were a heavy-set female in yellow walking with a male in the parking lot.

A Nobles County deputy who happened to be nearby was first on the scene, and he approached a couple that fit the description. While he was explaining to the couple why they were being stopped, an unknown male yelled a warning to the deputy, stating that the female was putting her bag beneath the squad car.

When the deputy walked around the car and found a purse behind his front passenger tire, he questioned the female, who allegedly laughed and made a quip about being caught. The male then yelled at the woman for stealing and said he had nothing to do with it.

While the deputy was speaking to the couple, another man, later identified as Pedersen, approached and asked if he could take the male and leave. When told he could not, Pedersen allegedly got upset and began yelling and swearing, taking an aggressive stance with the deputy. An officer from the Worthington Police Department arrived and arrested an uncooperative Pedersen, who had to be restrained by yet another officer so he could be handcuffed.

During a search of Pedersen, officers found two pocket knives and two multi-tools. They also found two anti-theft devices that ShopKo's loss prevention (LP) officer said belonged to the store. The LP officer pointed out two females who had been in the store with Pedersen, one of which was the female in yellow who had already been stopped by the deputy.

The LP officer said he saw the woman conceal items and leave the store. In a recorded statement, the woman said she stole about six items from ShopKo that day. Pedersen, she said, would use a multi-tool to remove the anti-theft devices, then she would put the items in her purse. She said she had gone to the store for the purpose of stealing items.

Pedersen is charged with possession of burglary tools, aiding and abetting theft, theft and obstructing the legal process.