PORT ST. LUCIE — Their modus operandi was the same.
Michael Rich and Jeremy Rich enter Walmart separately and appear to be in constant communication via headset. Michael Rich, 25, gets pillows and goes to the electronics department, where he puts cameras and other items under the pillows, according to arrest affidavits released Wednesday.
Michael Rich slides the stuff through a garden center fence before he and Jeremy Rich, 20, exit Walmart. Jeremy Rich drives his Chevrolet Cavalier up to the goods and Michael Rich loads them. Both were arrested Tuesday, each on two felony theft-related charges in connection with April 4 and April 9 incidents.
Port St. Lucie police on Tuesday learned of the accusations against Michael and Jeremy Rich when they went to the Walmart Supercenter in the 10800 block of South U.S. 1.
A Walmart official told police two men, later identified as Michael and Jeremy Rich, were in the store. That official said he and another Walmart official have video of the men shoplifting cameras and other items on several occasions. According to the affidavits, their methods are the same.
On Tuesday, they were in the store, with Michael Rich taking pillows before going to the electronics department. The shelves where the cameras had been were empty, and Michael and Jeremy Rich left with a third person.
The three were stopped, and when a Walmart official explained to police the "previous shoplifting escapades" Michael and Jeremy Rich were arrested, affidavits state.
Contacted Wednesday, Jeremy Rich said he stole nothing and disagreed with police accounts.
"That's not true. That's why I'm going to trial," he said. "I work two jobs. Why would I need to steal?"
Jeremy Rich said Michael Rich is his brother. Michael Rich could not immediately be reached.
Jeremy and Michael Rich have the same listed address in the 400 block of Southeast Tranquilla Avenue in Port St. Lucie.