Theft Ring Leader Or Fall Guy?

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

A man was arrested for employee theft, but his mother says others took advantage of him.

Nineteen-year-old Kerry Oates was booked for felony theft from the Walmart Store at 72nd and Pine. Five others face misdemeanor theft charges.

Oates' mother has come to his defense. Ernestine Davenport came to her son's arraignment ready to defend him, but she never got the chance. Ernestine brought documentation of her son's learning disability, but suspect's can't put on a defense at this stage of the process.

"I know it was something that he was pulled into and they took advantage of the fact that he is so...I'm not going to say so slow, but he has a developmental disability."

Oates was booked Wednesday for felony theft. Walmart says Oates would intentionally not ring up some items or cancel them after they were rung up.

Overhead images provided by Walmart on other cases clearly show some cameras are in place just for cash register transactions. Over the past month, they apparently were watching Oates and his alleged co-conspirators.

"He's a good kid, he just got pulled into some stuff and I think he is the fall guy because he is just so gullible and naive," said Davenport.

Even without a defense, the judge apparently agreed. Oates was released on his own recognizance and he is eligible for pretrial diversion, so this arrest may be erased from his record.

During the month-long Walmart investigation, the company's loss prevention team allegedly recorded more than $2,500 worth of merchandise stolen from the 72nd and Pine store.

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