Monday, December 12, 2016

Police still seek convenience-store thief, step up patrols

By Kaitlyn Taylor
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Police are still looking for the employee who they think stole $30,000 and a truck from the Midway Food Mart on Nov. 20. The theft has prompted Versailles police, who patrol all of Woodford County, to increase their presence in Midway in the third shift, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
A Versailles police officer who lives in Georgetown parks his cruiser at the convenience store. (Photo by Kaitlyn Taylor)
According to police and an employee of the store, Baljit Singh, the suspect is Greg Smith, who worked as a handyman for the Shell-brand convenience store for four to six months.

Singh, brother of the store manager, said he never suspected Smith. “He was working with us for the past six months,” he said, “and we never doubted him.” But WLEX-TV quoted the manager as saying that Smith had taken the truck and disappeared for two days before returning.

Singh said the theft occurred while Smith was fixing ceiling tiles. “We are open 24/7 and employees were still present when he was doing his job,” Singh said. “He was the one who put the safe in the ground. Maybe it was since then that he put the plan in his mind.”

Although the safe needed a code to open it, Singh said, Smith broke into the safe and walked out the front door as if nothing had happened. According to police, Smith was caught doing the crime on surveillance cameras before unplugging surveillance them and unlocked the office door through the ceiling tiles.

Greg Smith (driver's license
photograph via WLEX-TV)
Smith hopped in the black Ford F-150 that belongs to the store and has not been seen since. Police are continuing to search for him and the truck, and have a warrant for his arrest, said Mike Murray, assistant chief of the Versailles Police Department.

“We are still going over the video and surveillance,” said Lt. Michael Fortney. “Stuff like this does affect the community. Luckily no one was hurt and we want to tell people it is a random, isolated incident.”

Fortney said police “have stepped up patrols” in the Midway area in response to the theft.

Murray said, “Whenever on third shift, all the officers that work in the Midway district, especially any business that is open 24/7, we constantly do extra patrols. Third shift is so vigilant under business checks. That’s what we focus on, on third shift." He also said that after the theft, officers in the northwestern part of the county were told to also keep an eye on the Midway area.

Fortney said police want to make sure that the area near the interstate is a safe environment for locals and those who are passing through.

“We have an officer that is assigned to Midway city limits 24 hours a day and we want to let people know that they are safe and that we are taking this seriously,” he said. “We stepped up our patrols before this convenience store was opened. We simply added it to our routes when Subway, McDonald’s and other businesses were building in that area and when it officially opened.”

According to police, when the store opened three years ago, they stepped up patrols because it was the first 24/7 business in Midway. An officer who lives in Georgetown parks his cruiser at the store, Fortney said. Murray said officers may also fill out paperwork in their cruiser at the store when time permits.

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