Jon Johnson File Photo: A man is accused of breaking several laws on an eventful trip to Walmart on Jan. 18 that included DUI-drug, shoplifting, criminal damage, and leaving the scene of an accident while operating a work vehicle.
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A Greenlee man is facing multiple charges after reportedly using his work vehicle for nefarious purposes Jan. 18.
According to a Safford Police report, Joseph Gilbert Billingsley, 39, was arrested for shoplifting, criminal damage, leaving the scene of an accident and DUI-drugs.
Officers were initially dispatched at about 9:41 p.m. to Walmart at 755 S. 20th Ave. when a witness observed a man in a van back into another vehicle in the parking lot. The witness said the man got out and looked at both vehicles before heading into the store.
Video surveillance from the store reportedly showed Billingsley enter and utilize a grocery bag from the self-checkout area to steal women’s undergarments, including a bra, panties, and pantyhose. Billingsley then left the area prior to officers’ arrival.
However, the reporting party had taken a picture of the van and it showed the license plate and a sticker for Velocity Builders. The owner of the company was contacted, and he tracked the van’s GPS for the police. The van was then located behind the Mt. Graham Shopping Center.
Upon contact, the driver, Billingsley, appeared disoriented and was later learned to possibly be under the influence of methamphetamine and cannabis. He was found wearing the stolen pantyhose and a sweater, with the stolen panties and bra nearby along with “two handle-type objects wrapped in electrical tape” which was shaped into a phallic object.
During interrogation, Billingsley allegedly admitted to stealing the items from the store, but denied hitting the other vehicle. He then said the collision had been on accident but admitted leaving without providing any vehicle insurance information for the other vehicle owner.
Billingsley’s blood was taken for testing purposes and he was given a citation for criminal damage, shoplifting, and leaving the scene of an accident. An additional DUI-drug charge is pending the blood test results and review by prosecutors. The victim was given a copy of insurance information from the work van.