Walmart thief pleads guilty


WARSAW — A Rochester man involved in a multi-state string of thefts from Walmart stores pleaded guilty a felony and a drugged-driving charge Thursday in Wyoming County Court.

Rodqrick A. McGowan, 38, waived indictment on five counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, criminal possession of a forgery device, third-degree grand larceny, second-degree forgery, conspiracy, DWI by drugs, open container and traffic violations.

He pleaded guilty to possession of a forged instrument and DWI by drugs and is scheduled to be sentenced in August.

The forgery count is a D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

McGowan was arrested after a more than month-long investigation into a series of thefts at Walmart.

Sgt. Colin Reagan was first called to Walmart March 28 after an asset protection employee reported the theft of $3,600 worth of items.

McGowan and LaShaunda M. Baker, 38, also of Rochester, had entered the store several times with fake receipts, using them to steal and then return merchandise.

In early May, deputies were called to the store after McGowan was found inside attempting to return a stolen item with a fake receipt.

He was taken into custody in the parking lot and found with 164 fraudulent Walmart receipts. The vehicle also contained forgery equipment including a blank roll of Wal-Mart receipt paper, a paper cutter, and a copier/printer which was operational and powered up in the rear seat.

McGowan was found to possess a non-driver identification card and had been smoking cannabis and failed field sobriety tests.

Baker was taken into custody when she arrived at the Sheriff’s Department to inquire about McGowan. She was charged with fourth-degree grand larceny.

The investigation, led by Reagan, determined that the two had been stealing from Walmarts throughout New York and into Ohio.

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