Peru, IN – A Peru man is facing a charge of felony theft resulting from a shoplifting incident that took place at the Village Pantry convenience store located on W. Main Street, June 30, 2018.
According to a Peru Police Department probable cause affidavit filed with the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office, PPD Officer Wyrick was dispatched to the Village Pantry at 286 W. Main Street on June 30, 2018, at approximately 12:37 a.m. for the report of a theft. Upon arrival, Officer Wyrick spoke with a clerk working at the Village Pantry who was holding a subject,
Upon investigation, it was learned that Eric Bookwalter, 43 of Peru had been inside the store with a female whose name was redacted from the report by the Miami County Prosecutor’s office. The clerk reported that both had been inside the store approximately 45 minutes prior to calling for Police. Both had been seen acting suspiciously and the store clerk believed they may possibly be under the influence of illegal narcotics. The clerk stated she observed Mr. Bookwalter place a black Bluetooth speaker behind the ice freezer where he was standing as officers arrived. The clerk reported the couple had failed to pay for two fountain drinks as well as a black ball cap that Mr. Bookwalter was now wearing. The woman whose name was redacted was also reportedly placing items in a plastic bag as she walked through the store. When the clerk demanded to see inside the bag, the woman turned over the bag and left the store. The woman left the area prior to officer arrival.
A witness was also observed the couple and also reported them to be acting suspiciously and possibly under the influence of drugs.
After advising Mr. Bookwalter of his rights by PPD Officer Adkins, Officer Wyrick asked him to move away from the freezer where Wyrick was able to locate a black circular Bluetooth speaker where Bookwalter had been standing. Bookwalter claimed he had purchased the speaker, along with a black square speaker and sunglasses from the Dollar General Store earlier in the day. Both speakers had been removed from packaging that was found inside the Village Pantry in an aisle where Bookwalter had been located prior to police arrival. The sunglasses still had a Village Pantry tag on them. When asked if he had taken any other items without paying, Bookwalter replied he might not have paid for a silver rectangular USB charger. That item was also located. The total dollar amount of the items taken was $68.44. A copy of the video surveillance recordings will be provided to the prosecutor’s office when they are obtained.
A warrant check conducted by PPD Officer Adkins revealed that Bookwalter had an active arrest warrant out of Howard County. He was then taken into custody and transported to the Miami County Jail without additional incident.
Eric Bookwalter, 43 of Peru faces a level 6 felony charge of Theft. The charge is a felony due to Mr. Bookwalter having two prior convictions of theft. Those charges are from 2008 and 2013.
All criminal suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.