HAINES CITY, FL – A Polk County firefighter was arrested Thursday night for stealing about $165 worth of Pokemon cards.
Joel C.V. Strickland, 30, was arrested for petit theft and transported to the Polk County Jail after he was seen switching barcodes on cards before 6:30 p.m. at Walmart, located at 36205 U.S. 27. Walmart’s Loss Prevention office contacted police after observing Strickland attempting to defraud the retailer.
Strickland was seen by store staff switching barcodes from lower-priced cards to the higher-priced Pokmon cards. Strickland then attempted to pay the lower prices at a self-checkout register.
On his way out of the store, he was confronted by Loss Prevention, who then called police. Strickland told officers that he planned to “flip” the cards to make extra money because he was struggling financially.
“Help is a phone call away,” Chief Jim Elensky said. “If you are struggling, there are a myriad of resources available. As public safety employees, we are expected to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the respect our communities show us.”