Southwest Missouri man accused of using children in shoplifting scam

JAY, Okla. – Oklahoma authorities issue an arrest warrant for a Noel, Missouri man for allegedly making his children shoplift beer and steaks from a Grove Walmart.

Gary Cook, 52, is charged in Delaware County District Court with two counts of child neglect and petty larceny.

Cook is accused of trying to steal food and clothes totaling $707.39 on Sept. 10 in two separate incidents, according to a Grove police report.

In the first incident, police say Cook was in the parking lot with a shopping cart full of items when confronted by the store’s loss prevention officer. Cook allegedly left his shopping cart and ran toward a 1990s F150 with a white camper.

Police say some of the items recovered include two bags of charcoal, several packages of ribeye steaks, two men’s hoodies and four loaves of bread.

In the second incident, police say Cook made his children, ages 15 and 7, steal items totaling approximately $442.25 of merchandise.

Some of the items included beer, ribeye steaks and other food items, men’s underclothes, men’s jogger outfits and Halloween candy.

When the juveniles were stopped by police, the children reportedly told police, “The plan was to get the items and meet their father at the truck.” But police said when the boys went to the parking lot, they could not find their father’s truck.   

Officers say the 7-year-old was “emotionally distraught” and “the 15-year-old was calm and comforting the 7-year-old.”

A surveillance video reportedly shows Cook and the two juveniles walking into the store together, but grabbing separate carts and going separate ways once inside the store.  The report says the surveillance video also shows the group meeting up periodically inside the store as they fill the carts full of items. 

Officers say Cook is seen exiting the store alone and the juveniles exiting the store with a cart full of items, passing all the cashiers and self-checkout lanes.

The police report indicates the boys weren’t aware what they were doing was wrong. Officers say Cook simply left the boys at the store.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *