HAINES CITY, Fla. – Gotta catch ’em all: A Florida firefighter was caught stealing about $165 worth of Pokémon cards from a Walmart, authorities said.
According to the Haines City Police Department, Joel Strickland, 30, on Thursday was observed by the staff of a Walmart switching barcodes from lower-priced cards to the higher-priced Pokémon cards, WFLA reported. Strickland then attempted to pay the lower prices at a self-checkout register, the television station reported.
The value of the stolen cards was $165, investigators said.
Members of Walmart’s loss prevention staff stopped Strickland, a Polk County firefighter, as he attempted to leave the store, WTVT reported. According to police, Strickland told detectives that he planned to “flip” the cards to make extra money because he was struggling financially, the television station reported.
Strickland was arrested and charged with petit theft, according to Polk County online booking records.
In a news release, Haines City police Chief Jim Elensky said help is a phone call away.
“If you are struggling, there are a myriad of resources available,” Elensky stated. “As public safety employees, we are expected to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the respect our communities show us.”
Strickland resigned from the fire department prior to termination, WFLA reported.