Shoplifting Attempt Leads To Arrests

Ohio County sheriff’s deputies arrested three people on felony charges Friday morning after thwarting an alleged shoplifting attempt at Wal-Mart at The Highlands.

Melvin Crow, 32, of Moundsville; Michael Miedel, 44, of Benwood; and Tia Wells, 30, of Benwood remained in the Northern Regional Jail in lieu of bond late Friday.

Sheriff’s Lt. Nelson Croft said the loss prevention manager at Wal-Mart notified deputies that Crow was in the store around 2 a.m. Friday. Just days prior, Croft said, Crow had attempted a “push out,” in which he loaded a shopping cart with merchandise and tried to walk out of the store without paying.

This time, Croft and his fellow deputies simply waited for Crow to exit the store with the stolen merchandise. Crow finally walked into the parking lot around 4 a.m. Thursday while allegedly pushing a cart filled with $887 worth of shoplifted goods, Croft said.

Croft said he was surprised at the theft attempt, considering there were four marked Ohio County Sheriff’s Department cruisers that were highly visible in the store’s parking lot.

Deputies then identified the truck in which Crow traveled to the store, with Miedel sitting behind the wheel and Wells in the passenger seat. Miedel and Wells reportedly said they drove Crow to the store but were not aware he intended to shoplift.

When Miedel exited the vehicle, an unmarked bottle of prescription pills allegedly fell out of his lap. Deputies also allegedly discovered an unmarked pill bottle on Wells while executing a pat down.

Ohio County Magistrate Patty Murphy arraigned Crow on Friday on a charge of entering without breaking, while Wells and Miedel each were charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

At the time of his arrest Friday, Crow was out of jail on bond from a previous arrest for attempted burglary in Ohio County.

Croft said Wal-Mart was one of multiple stores at The Highlands that hired off-duty sheriff’s deputies to provide extra security during Black Friday. The lieutenant said that outside of the incident involving Crow, the day was fairly calm.