By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – Whether it is electronics, clothing, makeup, or baby formula, people can’t seem to stop stealing from Walmart.
Even workers and former employees appear to not be immune to the pull of the grift. On March 8, a former employee, identified as Mary Quintana, was seen on surveillance footage apparently replacing a less expensive shirt underneath an expensive shirt at one of the store’s self-scanners. When investigated, the asset protection employee also identified Quintana as being responsible for other unsolved thefts from the store as well.
Quintana, who previously served as a customer service manager according to the Walmart employee’s statement to police, has yet to be charged.
The very next day, authorities were back at Walmart after a man, identified as Paul Lopez, allegedly stole a Vizio soundbar worth $248.75.
An asset manager showed an officer store surveillance footage of Lopez stealing the sound bar the previous night at about 10:08 p.m.
The officer learned Lopez had a misdemeanor warrant out of Thatcher Municipal Court (now part of Gila Valley Consolidated Court) for possession of a prescription-only drug and attempted to locate him.
Lopez was spotted March 10 while he was at the Giant gas station at 1780 W. Thatcher Blvd. According to a Safford Police report, Lopez admitted stealing the soundbar.
The officer noted that due to his cooperation, while Lopez was initially arrested, he was given a citation for shoplifting and released. The officer also notified Lopez of his warrant.
On March 13, an officer was called back to Walmart for a shoplifting violation. This time, a couple was accused of stealing four containers of baby formula worth a combined $106.35.
Store surveillance footage shows the suspect, Ryan Matthew Maldonado, conceal the baby formula under a red sweatshirt. An attempt to locate Maldonado at that time was unsuccessful.
On March 17, however, Walmart called the police and informed that Maldonado and the woman he was with last time were both inside the store.
Upon arrival, the subjects had left the store but were located in the Carl’s Jr. parking lot as they walked away from the scene.
Maldonado allegedly admitted to stealing the baby formula and said he did it on his own with no help from the woman. Both subjects still were trespassed from Walmart at the store employee’s request.
The officer was informed Maldonado had an outstanding warrant from Thatcher Municipal Court from November 2017 regarding an additional shoplifting charge. Maldonado was then booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on his warrant, and the officer forwarded his report to the Safford City Attorney for review and a possible additional shoplifting charge.