LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin Police officers arrested a 44-year-old man after he allegedly tried to hide four cans of beer in his pockets and tried to exit the Chevron convenience store on N. Timberland Drive Thursday afternoon.
When the responding officer located James Neal Benjamin, he was arrested for state-jail felony theft in connection to theft of two push mowers from Dunn's Outdoor Power earlier Thursday. Benjamin was also allegedly found to be in possession of a crack pipe.
Benjamin is still being held in the Angelina County Jail on a state-jail felony charge of theft between $500 and $1,500, state-jail felony theft, and a Class C misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Collectively, his bail has been set at $7,500. The theft charges were both upgraded to felony charges because Benjamin has prior convictions on his record.
According to the police report, Benjamin entered the Chevron convenience store on N. Timberland at approximately 1:46 p.m. He stuffed four beers into his pockets and tried to exit the store without paying for them. He was charged with retaliation because he threatened to assault the Chevron employee that reported the alleged theft to the Lufkin Police Department.
The outstanding warrant that Benjamin had on him when he was located was for a theft that happened earlier Thursday. Sometime between 10 and 10:24 a.m., witnesses saw Benjamin steal two push-type lawn mowers from Dunn's Outdoor Power. According to the police report, the witness allegedly saw Benjamin pushing and pulling the two lawn mowers down Atkinson Drive.
When the responding officer went to talk to the employees at Dunn's Outdoor Power, the owner confirmed that two push mowers were missing from the displays just outside his front door.
The Murray Series 300 lawnmower and Craftsman bagger push mower were valued at a total of $220.
One of the lawn mowers was recovered at Ken's Pawn Shop. LPD officers learned from employees of the pawn shop that Benjamin had sold the mower to them.