Three Chattanooga police officers got top kudos from Chief Freeman Cooper today for working hard to capture two people accused of being prolific shoplifters.
Chief Cooper presented Sgt. Pat O’Brien, Officer Rick Engle and Officer Robert Bell with the Challenge Coin award after working to capture a man a woman who have been charged with working together to steal several thousand dollars worth of food, electronics and other items from a handful of Chattanooga stores, said Lt. Kim Noorbergen, police spokeswoman.
Police allege Rick Talley, with the help of Sheila Horne, filled a Target shopping cart with items and exited through a back door in April. Using the same techniques, the couple hit the store twice, and police allege Mr. Talley also stole electronics from a Wal-Mart, Lt. Noorbergen said.
When Officers Engle and Bell secured warrants for Mr. Talley and Ms. Horne, Sgt. O’Brien recognized the couple as suspects in thefts from a Bi-Lo grocery store. Police allege they took $9,000 in meat during two thefts from that business, Lt. Noorbergen said.
Mr. Talley pleaded guilty to the Target theft charges and received two years jail time. The Bi-Lo thefts are still in the court system. Ms. Horne’s case was bound over to the grand jury for indictment. Both suspects are still in jail, records show.
The officers’ cooperative work earned them praise from police commanders, who said the cases wouldn’t have been solved without their efforts, said Lt. Noorbergen.