Two men arrested in store thefts

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Detective Randy Seipel looks over various electronic items recovered Tuesday from two men suspected in thefts from the Greencastle Wal-Mart.

A Brazil man and his nephew are in the Putnam County Jail awaiting charges that they used duffel bags to smuggle thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from the Greencastle Wal-Mart store.

Melvin Halfacre, 38, Brazil, and his 20-year-old nephew Dustin Halfacre, Rockville, were arrested Tuesday night on charges of theft and receiving stolen property.

Greencastle Police Det. Randy Seipel said the men confessed to visiting the store 10-12 times in the past month and making off with everything from electric guitars, car speakers, DVDs, and other electronics.

Seipel said Dustin Halfacre is a former employee of the store and confessed to selling many of the items.

Melvin Halfacre, on the other hand, still had many of the stolen items Tuesday night which police seized from his possession.

Based on his interviews with the two men and video surveillance taken from the store, Seipel was able to determine that the two men would enter the store with the duffel bags which they filled up with items from store shelves.

At that point, the men would exit the store through the garden center doors and would lay the bags down next to the fence that surrounds the outside plant area.

The scheme was complete when the men would exit the store through the main entrance, walk over to the outside garden area, scale the fence and retrieve the bags.

It worked for about a month until store officials caught on and notified Greencastle police Tuesday night.

Seipel said the two men were apprehended outside the store in the midst of yet another attempt. Seipel estimated the stolen items at "several thousand dollars."

Assisting in the case included Greencastle officers Chris Helmer, Michael Collins, Eric Vaughan and Chief Tom Sutherlin along with Virgil Lanning of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department.

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