Cheese thieves: couple accused of stealing 57 blocks of cheese from Walmart
A young Chattanooga couple was arrested after going on a strange shoplifting spree at the Fort Oglethorpe Walmart. They walked out of the store with hundreds of dollars worth of stolen goods including 57 blocks of cheese.
Wednesday, February 4th 2015, 4:27 pm EST
Wednesday, February 4th 2015, 6:21 pm EST
A young Chattanooga couple was arrested after going on a strange shoplifting spree at the Fort Oglethorpe Walmart last week.
Twenty-one-year-olds Joshua and Erika Caldwell are facing several theft and drug charges after police said they walked out of the store with hundreds of dollars worth of stolen goods, including 57 blocks of cheese.
It's not clear why the couple decided to steal that much cheese or what they were planning on doing with all of it. But they did have their child with them, though, and police found pot in their car.
"The officer noticed a lot of cheese in places throughout the vehicle and the diaper bag for the child as well," said Fort Oglethorpe Police Chief David Eubanks.
Joshua Caldwell's car looked a lot like the Walmart dairy section when police found it last week. Fifty-seven blocks of stolen cheese were stuffed in the floorboards, in bags and throughout the vehicle.
Security caught the 21-year-old walking out with a cart full of stuff he didn't pay for.
"They walked up and asked him what was going on, and he said, 'Well, I got caught shoplifting'," Eubanks said.
The cheese plus ten 18-dollar bottles of Tide laundry detergent, some clothes and a candle totaled over $600. The cheese alone was worth more than $300.
Crystal Ware is a regular Walmart shopper.
"What would be the purpose?" she asked. "I wonder what they were making with it."
"Maybe they might be really in need of food, but you think they would get some different products besides just cheese," Ware said.
Police also found marijuana inside the vehicle. The couple had their baby with them, and a family member was called to pick the child up.
"We see everything taken, and for any number of reasons. Some are drug related, some are taken for necessity," Eubanks said, adding they get called to big stores for shoplifting on a daily basis. Just not on cases quite like this.
"Walmart has absolute state-of-the-art video. I suggest you not go there to steal."
The couple was taken to the Catoosa County Jail and both have since bonded out. While Erika does not have a criminal history, police said Joshua was arrested in Tennessee last year for aggravated animal cruelty and malicious mischief.