Sterling Police Investigating String of TV Thefts - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Sterling Police Investigating String of TV Thefts

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A string of thefts from the Walmart in Sterling has police there asking for your help to solve the crimes.

Police are saying that two thefts over the last few days, in which a total of seven flat screen televisions were taken, may not actually be connected.

The Sterling Police Detective we spoke to says the commonalities between the two thefts are likely more of a coincidence than anything.

In both cases, flat screen televisions were the targets; both thefts were from the same Walmart store on Lincolnway; all in the span of one weekend. But that's really where the similarities end.

The first happened Saturday evening. A man was seen walking into the Walmart around 8:30 p.m., and a short time later, he was spotted on video surveillance walking out of the store with a 42" TV he didn't pay for. Police say he put it into a black two-door vehicle and drove away.

The second incident, which happened around 3 a.m. Monday, was even more brazen.

Video surveillance shows a younger, skinny male taking six flat screen TVs from the store out of the emergency exit.

"It took him an hour to get the TVs moved over there. And he loaded the TVs up, and within three minutes they were out of the store," said Sterling Police Detective J. D. Sanders.

Police say he loaded the televisions into a dark-colored minivan waiting outside, with the help of at least two accomplices.

In all, more than $7,000 in merchandise was taken.

We're told that Monday's theft may be connected to a number of similar thefts that have occurred at Walmart stores in Peru, Ottawa, and several other locations in Northern Illinois within the last few weeks.

"Yes, it does surprise me. But anymore, I guess I'm not surprised in the same sense," Detective Sanders said.

"When items are being left out for the taking, big items, and this isn't the first time that this has happened, it just doesn't seem that any measures are being taken to correct this, so that's kind of unfortunate for us that crimes continue to occur," he went on to explain. "So I guess we're not surprised, but it's unfortunate that it happened."

Sterling Police continue to investigate both thefts. They're asking anyone with any information to call them at 815-632-6640. You can also call the Whiteside County Crimestoppers at 815-625-7867.

Crimestoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

"Be vigilant and be alert. Any type of suspicious activity, especially with these high priced electronics that are walking out of the store with out being paid for, it would be much appreciated if that was reported to us," Sanders said.

Sterling Police tell us they are pretty sure they know who is behind the first theft. The second crime is the one they really need your help solving.

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