Crime

Sheriff: Four caught in the act and arrested on shoplifting charges

Mugshots of Brianna Jernigan, Miquez Johnson, Ira Middleton and Porsha Thomas, who were arrested and charged with shoplifting at Burlington Coat Factory on Wednesday.
Mugshots of Brianna Jernigan, Miquez Johnson, Ira Middleton and Porsha Thomas, who were arrested and charged with shoplifting at Burlington Coat Factory on Wednesday.

Four people were caught shoplifting $2,037.28 in merchandise and were arrested outside of Burlington Coat Factory Wednesday evening, according to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office press release.

Brianna Jernigan, 26, Miquez Johnson, 21, Ira Middleton, 25, and Porsha Thomas, 29, were charged with shoplifting. Johnson, Middleton and Thomas were also charged with the use of an anti-shoplifting device.

According to the report, the four arrived at the store, located at 1205 Cortez Rd. W., in a black Lexus and left it running with the doors unlocked while they went inside.

They started hiding merchandise in luggage, backpacks and hampers. Johnson was seen passing a tool to Middleton, who then used it to remove a security sensor from an article of clothing, according to the report.

Thomas walked out of the store and saw deputies waiting outside, according to the report. Deputies followed her inside the store as she went to tell the other three that the police had arrived.

At first, Johnson resisted a deputy’s orders and attempted to walk away, but he was then secured to the ground without injury. Johnson was also charged with resisting arrest without violence.

According to the store’s loss prevention, the same group had been in the Burlington Coat Factory store three other times stealing merchandise.

This is Jernigan’s and Thomas’ first arrests in Manatee County. Johnson and Middleton both have priors related to shoplifting, according to Manatee County arrest inquiries.

Jernigan is held on $1,500 bond, Johnson on $3,500 bond, Middleton on $6,000 bond and Thomas on $3,000 bond.

Hannah Morse: 941-745-7055, @mannahhorse

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