Man accused of taking $1,600 in Wal-Mart items

Published 10:16 am Friday, April 8, 2016

Suspect pleads not guilty to stealing GoPros, chainsaws

An Austin man is accused of stealing more than $1,600 in merchandise from Wal-Mart.

Roger Allen Hinchley, 41, pleaded not guilty to one count of felony theft Thursday in Mower County court.

On July 29, 2015, Austin officers were dispatched to Wal-Mart for a theft report. The Wal-Mart asset protection officer showed officers a photograph of Hinchley and said he allegedly stole three GoPro cameras, valued at $1,200, and three Poulan chainsaws, valued at $441, over the previous week, according to court records.

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Two days later, Wal-Mart officials reported Hinchley was “stuffing his backpack” with items he was stealing from the store. He apparently dumped the items out of his backpack when he saw officers speaking with store personnel.

They found him pushing a shopping cart full of food and saw he had a large black backpack, which was empty. Hinchley appeared to be under the influence of meth.

The store manager told officers he had previously stolen $1,600 in merchandise and gave officers surveillance photographs that showed Hinchley with a backpack full of items taken from the store. He admitted it was himself in the picture and was then taken to Mower County Jail. There, Hinchley denied stealing anything from Wal-Mart and denied dumping out his backpack. Officers asked him if he dumped the bag before officers saw it and he said, “I may have.”

Later that day, a search warrant was executed at his home. A woman who lived there also said she was with Hinchley when he stole a chainsaw. She was only aware of one stolen chainsaw and the last time she saw it was in their living room.

The woman also said they do not have a car and rode to Wal-Mart on their bikes.

Officers searched the house, but did not locate the stolen items.

On Aug. 3, 2015, Hinchley admitted to stealing only one chainsaw. He said he attempted to steal the GoPro cameras, but couldn’t get the security wire off. He then dumped the cameras into a basket in another aisle and said, “No one seen me.”

Wal-Mart officials gave officers more clarifying information about the thefts:

• On July 21, Hinchley used a large backpack and went to the garden center and stole a chainsaw, valued at $167.

• On July 24, he stole three GoPro cameras, valued at $1,200 and another chainsaw, valued at $137. Wal-Mart personnel later located an empty chainsaw case and three empty GoPro boxes with the security wire cut off.

• On July 28, another chainsaw was stolen, also valued at $137. Wal-Mart personnel later located an empty chainsaw case.

His next court date is not yet scheduled.