Robber Admits to Torching Toilet Paper to Shoplift from Grocery Store

A St. Louis man was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday for setting fire to a supermarket toilet paper display in order to cover up his shoplifting.

James Stevens Jr., 57, pleaded guilty to a robbery charge in US District Court in St. Louis Thursday, just before he was sentenced.

On January 18, 2018, Stevens loaded a grocery cart at the Aldi supermarket at 3721 South Grand Boulevard, and then set a stacked display of toilet paper on fire, his plea agreement says.

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While employees and shoppers were distracted by the fire, Stevens walked out with his cart without paying.

An employee recognized Stevens as a frequent customer who had shoplifted from the store before.

Stevens’ lawyer, Brocca Morrison, wrote in a court filing that Stevens has struggled to find a job and housing in the past due in part to learning disabilities and an eighth-grade education…   St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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