Police recover tequila, M&Ms and more from alleged shoplifter

  • Joshua Schafer
    Joshua Schafer

A man reportedly going from store to store shoplifting in Orange was arrested for failure to identify after police caught up with him on Jan. 8, reports the Orange Police Department (OPD).

OPD Officer Dylan Mulhollan reports that officers responded to the Market Basket at 2498 N. 16th St. at 6:22 p.m. in reference to theft at the store. Market Basket staff had a man detained who they said had been seen attempting to steal items from the shelves. Mulhollan had just completed a call to Red’s Discount Liquor in reference to the theft of a large bottle of 1800 tequila and decided to go over to Market Basket to see if the suspect was the same in both thefts.

When the officer arrived at Market Basket, he described, he was able to identify the suspect in that theft as the same person who shoplifted from Red’s, and the Market Basket employees had recovered the unopened bottle tequila from the suspect prior to Mulhollan’s arrival. The Market Basket manager told officers that the manager of the nearby Dollar General store said the suspect had stolen items from that store, as well. In addition to recovering the tequila, upon searching the suspect officers found a large bag of peanut M&Ms in the man’s left sock and a four-pack of batteries and some earbuds in his left pants pocket.

When asked for his name, reports Mulhollan, the suspect hesitated before saying he was “John Smith,” but one of the officers recognized the man as 32-year-old Joshua Schafer, Schafer was arrested for failure to identify and taken to the Orange County Jail – for at least the second time within a week.

Schafer was previously arrested by officers of the Vidor Police Department (VPD) on Jan. 3 after it was reported he had stolen items out of the Dollar General store at 695 N. Main St. VPD officers responded to the report of a theft at 9:16 a.m. Witnesses described the suspect as a white male with “bleeding feet” carrying a blue backpack. An officer was able to identify Schafer from store video.

While still searching for the suspect, VPD received a call from Rose City Marshal Hollie Campbell who had just received a call of a suspicious person near the Church Street underpass in Vidor. VPD Officer Victor Brian assisted Campbell in searching the area for the suspicious person.

When they found the person described by the caller, Brian recognized the man as Schafer, who the officer reports was busily “stuffing clothes into a blue-colored backpack.” When Bryan made contact, he reports, Schafer began to walk away. The officer ordered him to stop, but stated that Schafer instead continued to walk and then stopped to pick up something out of the grass that “looked like a section of pipe.” Thinking the item could be used as a weapon, Bryan drew his Taser and again ordered Schafer to stop. The suspect finally dropped the item, and Bryan arrested him for the Dollar General theft earlier in the day.

As the officer tried to place Schafer in the back seat of the patrol car, Bryan described, the suspect began to struggle and argue. Officers ultimately overpowered Schafer and transported him to the Orange County Jail, but not before causing injuries to two of the officers at the scene. During transport, reports Bryan, Schafer also caused harm to himself by banging his head into the plastic partition in the patrol vehicle. 

Schafer was arrested for resisting arrest. A subsequent search of his backpack reportedly turned up some of the stolen Dollar General merchandise.

Both cases are pending in Orange County.

In September 2019, VPD officers had arrested Schafer in Vidor for trying to evade detention, which “sparked” a struggle that caused a tangled Taser to temporarily incapacitate the arresting officer

In that incident, Officer Dillon LaPoint was dispatched to the Vidor Flea Market at 21293 Interstate 10 in reference to a possibly intoxicated male wandering the property talking to himself. LaPoint spotted the suspect and identified him as Schafer. LaPoint reports that Schafer exhibited slurred speech and appeared to be intoxicated. 

When approached by the officer, reports LaPoint, Shafer first tried to ride away on his bicycle and then ran away on foot. LaPoint, who was dressed in full uniform, states that he repeatedly told Schafer to stop to no avail. That’s when LaPoint first deployed his Taser, stopping Schafer in his tracks. As the officer attempted to cuff Schafer, however, the suspect started to struggle, causing the Taser wire to become wrapped around them both. When LaPoint activated his Taser the second time, he himself was “momentarily incapacitated.” 

The jolt caused LaPoint to drop the Taser, and Schafer got to it first, picking it up and pointing it at the stunned officer. LaPoint quickly regained control of the Taser, swiftly grabbing the weapon out of Shafer’s hands and throwing it out of reach.

Civilians at the scene assisted the officer in detaining Schafer in handcuffs, and backup soon arrived along with EMS. After Schafer was cleared medically, he was transported to the Orange County Jail. He reportedly told officers he had not slept in days, and his erratic behavior continued as LaPoint transported him. According to the officer, Schafer repeatedly kicked the backseat camera in the patrol car, saying he did not want to be recorded. 

Schafer was charged with evading arrest and also had an outstanding warrant at the time of that incident.