Two alleged meat thieves were arrested last week following an incident at the Food City in Clinton.
Clinton Police Officer Jennifer Hutchins reported that she was called to the store Friday afternoon on a report of a theft. When she arrived, she spoke with store manager Sam Turner, who told her that he caught two people, later identified as 38-year-old Richard Freer of Kingston and 27-year-old Brittany Cureton of Bulls Gap, shoplifting. Turner told Hutchins that he caught the duo shoving meat from the butcher shop into Cureton’s backpack.
When Turner confronted the pair, Freer shoved him, and a wrestling match broke out, during which a beer display was knocked over, resulting in numerous broken bottles on the floor. Cureton ran toward the front door during the fracas but was caught before she could get out, while a store customer assisted Turner in subduing Freer until police could arrive.
Cureton told Hutchins, according to the arrest report, that she and Freer had visited numerous other grocery stores in the area that day and on several days in the past, and stolen different kinds of meat, telling the officer that their van was full of meat. A search of the van turned up meats from stores like Kroger, Ingles and Food City inside.
This was apparently not the couple’s first visit to the Clinton Food City, as Turner showed Officer Hutchins video surveillance from May 6th of them stealing almost $475 worth of meat. In Friday’s incident, before they were caught, the pair had managed to stuff some $476 worth of meat into the backpack.
Cureton was arrested and charged with theft, conspiracy and resisting arrest, and was placed on hold for authorities in Cocke County, where she has three outstanding warrants for her arrest.
Freer was charged with theft, conspiracy, resisting arrest, aggravated assault, vandalism, and disorderly conduct.
Both were also charged with theft in the May 6th incident.