Ala. man charged with theft said he was helping U.S. Marshals

JCPenney in Panama City Mall re-opening. (Mike Kalasnik / CC BY-SA 2.0)

ANDALUSIA, Ala. (WTVY) -- A JC Penney’s manager has been charged with theft in a bizarre case that began with a scam.

Malik Monte’ Stough, 22, of Brantley, told officers he believed he was assisting the United States Marshal’s Service when he took more than $10,000 in cash from the store.

The Andalusia Police Department became involved shortly after 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, when they responded to a call at the local department store and were told a store manager had taken more than $10,000 in cash. Officers took the suspect’s name and a vehicle description and sent out a statewide BOLO (be on the lookout) in an attempt to locate the suspect.

By approximately 6:30 p.m., the Pike County Sheriff’s Department had detained the suspect in the Spring Hill community of Pike County. APD officers went to Pike County to pick up the suspect, and impounded his vehicle which was transported back to Andalusia.

Chief Paul Hudson said the suspect told investigators that he believed he was assisting the U.S. Marshal’s Service with an investigation into embezzlement in the local store. Stough said he received a call from someone who identified himself as a U.S. Marshal and said he was working with corporate to locate a thief.

Stough said the person advised him to take the money from the store, and then had him drive to several different locations, buying Money Pac cards with the money from the store. Stough would then give the caller the information on the back of the card so the caller would be able to access the money.

Stough said the person threatened to place him in jail if he did not do as instructed. Stough said he did not realize that he was involved in a phone scam until he spoke by telephone with an Andalusia officer.

Stough was charged with Theft of Property 1st . His bond was set at $20,000.

Hudson reminds citizens to please be aware of potential scams.

“There are several scams out there both online and on the phone,” Hudson said. “Some of these scammers represent themselves as federal, state, or local agencies during these scams. It is recommended that if you receive a call or email asking you to do something involving money and the person or persons contacting you represent themselves as one of these agencies, you get a contact number and then advise them you will call them back and contact your local police to confirm the validity of the call or email.”

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