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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Winn-Dixie employee caught ‘sliding merchandise’ with an associate

A Leesburg woman was arrested for theft when she and another Winn-Dixie associate were caught “sliding merchandise” on store surveillance footage.

Melissa Wells
Melissa Hope Wells

Deputies responded to Winn-Dixie, located at 1122 N. Main Street in Bushnell, regarding an employee retail theft around 4:46 p.m. Tuesday, according to an arrest report from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. 

Upon arrival, the deputies met with an asset protection officer who stated an investigation was conducted on 46-year-old Melissa Hope Wells and another associate for sliding merchandise for one another. Wells began “sliding merchandise” for another associate on April 11 and had done it a total of 10 times. The term “sliding merchandise” refers to when a suspect pretends to scan an item but intentionally does not scan said item so the other individual will not have to pay for it, the report said. 

The asset protection officer also gave the deputies an itemized list showing dates and values for each theft. The total value of stolen property was $467.75, the report said. 

Contact was then made with Wells, and she was read her rights. She waived her rights and agreed to speak with law enforcement about the theft. Additionally, surveillance footage of the incidents showed Wells sliding merchandise so the other associate would not have to pay, the report said. 

Wells was subsequently arrested on charges of scheme to defraud and petit retail theft. She was transported to Sumter County Jail and released after posting $3,000 bond. 

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