Three arrested after string of thefts

Three Kentucky residents were arrested Saturday evening in Seymour by police investigating a string of thefts from local retail businesses.

Tiffany Chyann Johnson, 22, of Burdine, Kentucky, and Karyn Cheray Merida, 44, of Louisville, Kentucky, both face two preliminary Level 6 felony charges of theft, while Michael B. Mays, 23, also of Louisville, faces three preliminary Level 6 felony theft charges.

All three also face Level 6 felony charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia, while Merida and May both face Level 6 felony charges of possession of cocaine or other narcotic drugs. Plus, Merida faces a misdemeanor charge of providing a false identity statement.

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According to a news release from Seymour Police Department Public Information Officer Jeremy Helmsing, police were sent to CVS Pharmacy at 201 E. Tipton St. at 7 p.m. Saturday after information was received about three suspects wanted in a theft at the Brownstown CVS being spotted.

The three had left the Seymour CVS store by the time police arrived, but their vehicle was stopped by city officers Jeremy Soliday and Crystal Schapson near Tipton and Chestnut streets, Helmsing said.

He said during a search of the vehicle, police found a large amount of merchandise that appeared to have been stolen — confirming their suspicion about the trio — and 4.4 grams of methamphetamine, oxycodone, drug paraphernalia and a yard sale sign.

At that point, Helmsing said the three were detained.

During a review of security footage from the Seymour store by Schapson, the three were seen entering the store separately, he said.

Someone would then intentionally set off the store’s theft alarm as a diversion while others left with merchandise, he said.

While questioning the three, Helmsing said it became clear multiple stores had been targeted, although the individuals did not disclose which stores they had been in. An investigation is currently ongoing to determine which stores were targeted.

The recovered stolen merchandise came from five separate stores in Seymour. The recovered items included 85 with a retail value of $251.13 from Dollar General stores; 20 items valued at $1,010.10 from Walgreens; and at least $8,500 in items from the Brownstown and Seymour CVS locations, Helmsing said.

According to police, a CVS manager told investigators specific, high-value items were targeted, although police were unable to disclose the nature of those items.

The three were booked into the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown and are being held without bond pending their initial hearings.

Brownstown Police Department officers assisted with the investigation.

A Level 6 felony carries a sentence of six months to two and a half years in jail with an advisory sentence of one year if convicted.