A 49-year-old Saginaw man was arraigned Friday in Isabella County Trial Court on charges of larceny and malicious destruction of a building after stealing 4,017 pounds of batteries from a Walmart in Mount Pleasant.
Dennis Paul Pratt was arrested at his home in Saginaw on Jan. 13. The theft occurred between 8 and 9 p.m. on Jan. 10, police said, at the Tire & Lube Express in the Walmart at 4730 Encore Blvd.
“They noticed (the theft) early Saturday morning, shortly after they opened,” said Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski. “People get a pretty good return (for selling old batteries). He was probably making good money on that.”
According to a news release from the Isabella County Sheriffs Department, the suspect hooked a chain to the back of a green Chevrolet Silverado half-ton pickup truck, and used it to pull open the gate at a fenced-in area outside the auto mechanic, stealing 180 batteries.
“He must have been having trouble steering,” Mioduszewski said. “He was going down the road with all that weight in the back. The front end must have been almost off the ground.”
Mioduszewski said video security footage was provided by Walmart and is the strongest piece of evidence in the case. The clip was sent out to the public with the initial press release.
“A couple (of) citizens ended up contacting us after recognizing him on the footage,” Mioduszewski said. “They were at least acquaintances. They recognized him right away.”
Larceny of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 is a felony that carries a $10,000 fine or five years incarceration. Malicious destruction of a building valued at $200 or more but less than $1,000 is a misdemeanor with a punishment of $2,000 or one year incarceration.
Diana Gee, Walmart media spokesperson said the store worked with local law enforcement to identify the culprit, through public awareness.
“We appreciate (the) law enforcement’s help,” she said. “We’re providing them with any information that might be useful to their investigation.”
Follow cm-life.com for more information in the developing story.