MEXICO — Police said a Mexico man charged with stealing nearly $800 in groceries and merchandise from the Mexico Walmart remained in a Paris jail Thursday.

Following a traffic stop Wednesday night and vehicle search on Highland Terrace, Mexico police officer Josh Aylward arrested Shawn D. Hodge, 34, of 16 Osgood Ave., at 10:28 p.m. on charges of theft, violating bail conditions and illegal possession of Ritalin, Mexico police Chief Roy Hodsdon said Thursday afternoon.

Because Hodge was free on a deferred disposition that he commit no new crimes for a year, bail was denied, Hodsdon said. Hodge was taken to Oxford County Jail in Paris and is to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 2 in 11th District Court.

A jail official said Thursday evening that Hodge will make his first court appearance Friday in Paris.

Hodsdon credited the actions Wednesday night of Oxford County Sheriff’s Sgt. Timothy Holland in alerting Mexico police.

Prior to 9 p.m., Holland was off duty and sitting in his county police truck in the parking lot at Walmart. The truck is clearly marked Oxford County Sheriff’s Office.

Hodsdon said Holland witnessed a man and a teen pushing shopping carts loaded with groceries and merchandise back and forth past his truck, from the store’s front doors to a white sport-utility vehicle. They loaded the merchandise into the SUV. A woman was in its driver’s seat, Hodsdon said.

Holland became suspicious and radioed the SUV’s license plate to a dispatcher in Paris, who alerted Aylward. Holland said the SUV left the store and headed west up Highland Terrace.

Aylward stopped the SUV at the intersection of Back Kingdom and Harlow Hill roads. Highland Terrace changes into Harlow Hill Road near Mountain Valley Middle School.

Inside the SUV was close to $800 worth of beer, food, sodas, an air conditioner and health and beauty products, Hodsdon said.

An additional search found the drug Ritalin wasn’t prescribed to Hodge, he said.

Oxford County Sheriff’s Cpl. George Cayer and Lt. Chancy Libby assisted Aylward. Holland joined them, Hodsdon said.

The 13-year-old boy from Biddeford and the woman have not been charged, but Hodsdon said the investigation is continuing.

“They came right out of the front doors with the merchandise,” he said. “Walmart security got it all on video.”

To his knowledge though, Hodsdon said he didn’t believe store security personnel were even aware of the theft at the time. He said usually they check video footage and contact Mexico police the following day.

“It was a good case with Sgt. Holland being in the parking lot, because we probably wouldn’t have heard of it if Walmart security hadn’t caught it,” Hodsdon said. “It’s also why Sheriff Wayne Gallant allows his deputies to use their cruisers when they’re not working, which is a plus for us.”

Hodsdon said he doesn’t believe the crime was part of an organized effort, but couldn’t believe that Hodge and the teen pushed the carts past the marked police cruiser truck.

“That’s how blatant they were,” he said.

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