A 65-year-old man who told police he cannot stop shoplifting because it is a sickness now faces a felony criminal complaint.
Elmer F. Rother, Weyauwega, was charged with one count each of felony and misdemeanor retail theft after being accused of shoplifting at the Pick ‘n Save and Aldi stores in Waupaca.
On Oct. 14, a customer at Pick ‘n Save saw an elderly man picking products off the floor at the sliding glass doors. She was helping him gather the items until she noticed they were falling out from under his jacket. She notified store employees.
Staff then followed the man, identified as Rother, out to his vehicle.
Rother said a grocery bag had broken. He put the items in his jacket because he could not carry them all.
Rother was pushing a grocery cart at the time, according to the criminal complaint.
When the employees asked for his receipt, Rother allegedly said he threw it away, but could not remember where he tossed it.
They allowed him to leave, but one of the staff took a photo of Rother’s vehicle with the license plate.
He was also identified by the number on his rewards card.
Waupaca Police Officer Nicole Hahn reviewed surveillance video from the store. It showed Rother entering and exiting the restroom. Later, as he exits the store, the video shows items falling out of his jacket, the complaint says.
On Nov. 13, Hahn was dispatched to the Aldi store in repsonse to a report of an elderly man shoplifting and trespassing.
Hahn located Rother at the counter, where he was bagging his groceries.
The officer told Rother he was trespassing because he had been warned not to return to the store after being caught stealing on a prior occasion.
Hahn noticed bulges in Rother’s jacket. She asked him if he had anything he did not pay for and Rother said he did not.
Hahn then said she would be arresting Rother for trespassing, at which time he reportedly admitted he had items he did not pay for.
According to the criminal complaint, Rother told Hahn he has a sickness and cannot help it. He said he has plenty of money, so he does not know why he does it.
Shoplifting is normally charged as an ordinance violation rather than as a criminal offense.
Rother was convicted on Jan. 5, 2015, of retail theft and ordered to pay fines and court costs of $238 and $40 in restitution to the Waupaca Aldi store.
On April 5, 2010, Rother was convicted of retail theft and ordered to pay $238 in fine and court costs and $31.50 to Piggly Wiggly in Waupaca.
On April 1, 2010, Rother was convicted of retail theft and ordered to pay $330 in forfeiture and court costs and $265 for his court-appointed attorney. No restitution was requested.
On Sept. 21, 2009, he was convicted of retail theft and ordered to pay $238 in fine and court costs. No restitution was requested.
On July 16, 2008, Rother was convicted in Chippewa County of retail theft, and ordered not to return to the Chippewa Falls Kmart, and to pay fine and court costs of $252, plus a $60 victim surcharge. The money was taken from the $350 cash bond he posted in order to be released from custody.