Two Mississippi men are in custody as the result of the quick thinking of an off-duty police officer during a shoplifting incident that occurred at Wal-Mart Sunday evening.
Helena-West Helena Police Chief Virgil Green reported that Wal-Mart employees called 911 around 8:20 p.m. stating that four black males had pushed a shopping cart containing several boxes of flat-screen TVs out the front doors of the store. The employees were not sure as to whether or not the subjects were armed and did not approach them.

Two Mississippi men are in custody as the result of the quick thinking of an off-duty police officer during a shoplifting incident that occurred at Wal-Mart Sunday evening.

Helena-West Helena Police Chief Virgil Green reported that Wal-Mart employees called 911 around 8:20 p.m. stating that four black males had pushed a shopping cart containing several boxes of flat-screen TVs out the front doors of the store. The employees were not sure as to whether or not the subjects were armed and did not approach them.

According to Green, an off-duty female police officer was informed what had just occurred. As she exited the store, she saw the subjects leave the Wal-Mart parking lot in a white Chevy vehicle. The officer radioed their location to other patrol units.

The vehicle and its occupants left the western portion of the city headed for Helena. Additional units were able to pull over the vehicle on Biscoe.

Two black males leaped from the car and fled on foot from the traffic stop. Two other males were captured while still inside the vehicle.

Officers searched the area for the fleeing subjects but were unable to locate them. Meanwhile, inside the vehicle investigating officers found the stolen items from Wal-Mart.

The suspects arrested at the traffic stop were Sheldon Lee and Timothy Franklin, both out of Mississippi.

Green stated that Lee and Franklin told investigators who the other two men were. Police are in the process of contacting the law enforcement agency in the city where they reside to obtain warrants for their arrest.

The Wal-Mart shoplifting incident occurred almost simultaneously with the Helena Crossing Conoco armed robbery. Most of the Helena-West Helena Police units were working that incident at the time of the Wal-Mart theft.

Green credited the quick thinking and response of Officer Mills for the apprehension of the Wal-Mart suspects as well as the recovery of the stolen property.

“These officers did a great job in capturing those shoplifters,” said Green.

The value of the stolen merchandise was listed at approximately $1,500.