CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. - A Florida man accused of stealing more than $10,000 worth of merchandise from several Lowcountry Walmarts was arrested in Georgia following a traffic stop.
The Camden County Sheriff's Office arrested and charged 36-year-old Brian O'Neal Williams of Green Cove Springs, Fla. with theft by bringing stolen property into the state.
It all started Tuesday morning when a Dodge Charger was pulled over on Interstate 95 at Exit 7 for an improper lane change. The officer asked for permission to search the car after noticing the driver's nervousness and inconsistent stories from him and his passenger, according to the Camden County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities say after Williams refused the search, a police officer and his K-9 walked around the car. The dog then picked up a scent and the car was searched.
Deputies say they found small traces of marijuana and two plastic bins filled with items that included 5 Hour Energy, Nicorette Lozenges and Gum, Gillette razors, Mucinex, Claritin, Zantac, Crest White Strips, Prevacid, Olay Skin Cream, Phillips Sonicare toothbrushes, a 16-piece China set, pet clippers and a 31-pound bag of dog food, according to the sheriff's office.
Williams told the deputy he bought the items from a flea market on Lane Avenue in Jacksonville.
The passenger told deputies that Williams may have stolen the items from Walmarts in South Carolina, according the sheriff's office.
The deputies say they checked the GPS unit in the Charger and a store on Centre Point Drive in Charleston came up. A loss prevention specialist at the store said they would check the store's video security system.
Williams was then left to go on his way.
Just after Williams left the traffic stop, deputies say they got a message on their cell phone of photos of Williams in the Walmart store and confirmation of the theft of a large number of items.
Deputies then pulled Williams over and placed him under arrest.
Walmart officials say the stolen merchandise totaled $10,780.52. According to store officials, their investigation found that Williams tried to steal items at six different Walmart stores in South Carolina.
Investigators say on Jan. 29 Williams drove to Walmarts at Buford, Hardeeville, Walterboro, Summerville, and two stores in North Charleston. He stole the items by placing them in the plastic containers then purchasing the containers at the self checkout cash registers, according to the sheriff's office.
Investigators said they believe he picked up the passenger after the thefts and headed toward Florida.
Williams is in custody at the Camden County Jail