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Florida firefighter accused of stealing Pokémon cards from Walmart

Suspect faces theft charge

Joel Strickland
Joel Strickland (Haines City Police Department)

HAINES CITY, Fla. – A Central Florida firefighter’s mission to “catch 'em all” ended with him stealing $165 worth of Pokémon cards from Walmart, according to the Haines City Police Department.

Police said Polk County firefighter Joel Strickland, 30, was caught on surveillance video switching barcodes on packs of gaming cards at Walmart on U.S. 27 Thursday around 6:30 p.m.

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Records show he took the barcode stickers from lower-priced Pokémon cards and placed them on more valuable packs then took them to the self-checkout.

A loss prevention officer confronted Strickland before he could leave the store and then called police, according to a news release.

Authorities said Strickland planned to “flip” the cards to make extra money because he’s been struggling financially.

“Help is a phone call away,” Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky said. “If you are struggling, there are a myriad of resources available. As public safety employees, we are expected to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the respect our communities show us.”

Strickland is facing a petit theft charge.

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