Dalton detective buying groceries stops Ohio family trio shoplifting from Kroger in stolen truck
According to a Dalton Police Department incident report, on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020, Detective Aaron Simpson was buying groceries at Kroger located at 1365 West Walnut Avenue while on his meal break due to the altered grocery store hours related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Detective Simpson reported, "While [I] was shopping for groceries, [I] noticed a suspicious white male later identified as Ryan Edward Carpenter, 24, of Marietta, Ohio, in the grocery store near the service desk. Detective Simpson stated, "The male did not appear to be shopping and was holding a personal bag." "The male was looking all around as if he was paranoid or engaged in illegal activity." Once outside Detective Simpson noticed the same white male shoving a bag inside a red Ford F250 with Ohio tag occupied by two subjects. There was a subject in the driver's seat later identified as Robert Edward Carpenter, 45, of Marietta, Ohio, and a subject in the backseat later identified as Gene Alan Isner, 44, of Marietta, Ohio. According to Detective Simpson, Ryan was shoving the bag through a broken driver side rear window to Isner. Ryan then ran back inside Kroger, where Detective Simpson returned inside Kroger and watched Ryan actively pulling on a package directly across from the service desk. Ryan then noticed Detective Simpson and began walking towards the back of the store. He then quickly ran out the northernmost exit towards the red Ford truck. Detective Simpson was already on the phone with Lt. Bishop requesting assistance while the truck was beginning to flee the scene. Detective Simpson showed his department-issued badge and identified himself while approaching the vehicle. The driver, Robert, was shaking nervously and seemed hesitant to comply. Officer Greene arrived on the scene quickly in his patrol vehicle, blocking the truck. Officers detained Ryan after he quickly exited the truck and was acting as if he was going to flee. Ryan confirmed to the detective that he was trying to steal a speaker from the store but thought better of it after seeing him. Ryan told officers that he didn't know the people in the truck, and they were just giving him a ride. As the detective spoke with Robert, he was extremely nervous and would not answer simple questions that were asked like, "What is your name?" Isner also stated to the officers that he had also just got a ride and was on his way to Florida as well. Isner stated that the jewelry they found on Ryan belonged to his dead mother, and he sold the rings to Ryan for gas money. After searching further, officers located a white packaged Kroger wireless ZTE cell phone that was missing the top tab as if it was broken off the top. Ryan confirmed to the detective that the phone was just stolen. Officer located six more cell phones in the glovebox along with a Marriott visa credit card belonging to a person none of the suspects knew. Ryan stated to the detective that he found the credit card in a bag on the side of the road. Detective Simpson stated, "The more Ryan was talking, the more [I] felt [I] was being fed lies. "He kept talking when [I] wasn't asking questions and [I] kept listening to the lies," Detective Simpson stated. After speaking with the subjects some more, Detective Simpson learned that all of the stories they were telling about not knowing each other were completely false. After obtaining their correct identifying information, Detective Simpson confirmed that Robert and Ryan carpenter were father and son. Ryan also confirmed that Isner was his uncle. After running vehicle information through NCIC officers, confirmed that the vehicle was also stolen from Marietta, Ohio, which is the hometown of the three suspects. Officers now knew that all three subjects had traveled from the Ohio area in the stolen truck and were stealing cell phones along the way. Due to the actions Detective Simpson saw, he believes that they would have continued making trips to steal items in Kroger if he hadn't been stopped. All three suspects were taken into custody and transported to the Whitfield County Jail. They were charged with theft by receiving stolen property, theft by bringing stolen property into the state, and theft by shoplifting. Officers obtained surveillance video of the theft from Kroger. The jewelry and cell phones were placed into property and evidence. The truck was towed to the impound lot at the Dalton Police Department. The detective spoke with a Marietta Ohio police officer about the theft of the truck who advised he was very familiar with the trio. The owner of the truck called the detective and advised that the truck was stolen from a mechanic shop in Marietta, Ohio. According to the Whitfield Jail records all three suspects are still in the jail.