ERWIN — A Chuckey man was arrested Wednesday by officials with the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department for allegedly stealing nearly 50 boxes of heartburn medication from the shelves of the Unicoi Walmart’s pharmacy area.
Dale L. Nelson, 42, 350 Morgan Branch, Chuckey, was arrested and charged with theft over $500.
The alleged theft occurred Sunday morning, when authorities received a report from Walmart employees that a man had entered the store, placed 49 boxes of Prilosec into a shopping bag he had brought into the store with him, and fled the store through its lawn and garden exit. According to the report, the Prilosec taken was valued at $818.98.
When the alarm sounded, store employees attempted to stop Nelson, who was able to get to his car and flee the scene at a high rate of speed, the report said.
The reported stated that employees were able to obtain a tag number and description of the vehicle in which Nelson fled, and Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley commended the work of investigators with the sheriff’s department’s in tracking Nelson.
“My investigators did an extraordinary job,” he said. “It took a lot of legwork, and they did an excellent job in getting this case resolved.”
Hensley said Nelson was taken into custody on Wednesday and confessed to the medication theft. According to the sheriff, tools believed to be stolen out of Greeneville were also found in Nelson’s car. He said the Greeneville Police Department is currently looking into that matter.
Nelson was arraigned earlier this week in Unicoi County Sessions Court, where an $8,000 corporate bond was set. He is scheduled to again appear in Sessions Court on Aug. 30.