Gainesville woman jailed after being caught with $323.75 in Target merchandise

Ericka Leslie Thompson

A 29-year-old Gainesville woman found herself behind bars early Sunday afternoon after being accused of stealing items from an Ocala store.

An Ocala Police officer was called to the Target at 2000 SW College Rd. and when he arrived, a loss prevention officer said he had watched 29-year-old Ericka Leslie Thompson via video surveillance as she selected several smart watches. He said she then walked to the dog food aisle, where she removed the items from their packages and allegedly concealed them inside her purse, a police report states.

The loss prevention officer said Thompson went to other parts of the store and selected merchandise from “high theft areas” and then concealed items in her purse. He said Thompson then passed the cash registers without attempting to pay for the merchandise and he confronted her and escorted her to his office, the report says.

The officer had Thompson view the video surveillance footage and she admitted several times that it was her they were watching. When asked why she attempted to take the items, Thompson claimed that “it was not her intent to steal the items” and she didn’t think it was stealing if she hadn’t “completely exited the store,” the report says.

The officer asked Thompson if after watching the video surveillance footage she would admit to stealing the items and she said she would not. The items, valued at $323.75, included:

  • A sharing-size bag of Starburst candy;
  • A Rugrats hoodie;
  • A pair of gray sweatpants;
  • Two pairs of Super Mario Bros. socks;
  • A 23-ounce jar of Jingle Blend Indulgent Trail Mix;
  • Two Super Mario Bros. beanies;
  • A 5-ounce aerosol can of Summer’s Eve cleaning foam;
  • A one-pint container of TruMoo chocolate milk;
  • A 15-ounce bottle of Naked Blue Machine juice;
  • A black crop top;
  • Two boxes of cheese stuffed crust DiGiorno microwave pizzas; and
  • Three Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 watches.

Thompson was arrested, placed in handcuffs and transported to the Marion County Jail, where she was charged with retail petit theft. She was released early Monday morning on $500 bond and her next court date hasn’t yet been set, jail records show.