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Man in purple hat accused of Wauwatosa Pick 'n Save thefts

June 29, 2011

John Henry Smith Jr., 51, of Milwaukee has been charged with misdemeanor retail theft. He is accused of violating probation from a prior theft charge and taking liquor valued at $734 from Pick 'n Save, 6950 W. State St., two days earlier.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

Grocery store personnel had been on the lookout for a man wearing a distinctive purple hat who had been taking liquor. He showed up at a checkout counter at 12:57 p.m. with an empty cart.

He tried to keep the cashier distracted while his accomplice - Charles Adams, 42, of Milwaukee, who has been charged with the same crime - pushed the full cart out the door.

The duo was loading a car when security approached, so they ran. Smith got on a bus but was arrested when he exited at 60th and Vliet streets.

Meanwhile, Adams took off his outer shirt so he wouldn't be recognized, but he was stopped at 62nd Street and Milwaukee Avenue. He was wanted on a Brown Deer Police Department warrant.

Smith said he felt dizzy and was experiencing chest pains, the same complaints he made when he was arrested for stealing liquor from the same Pick 'n Save in 2009.

He was taken to Froedtert Hospital, where he was medically cleared.

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