Officers on Santa escort duty bust mall shoplifters, police say

Merchandise stolen from multiple stores

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

Daytona Beach police officers Joe Evans and Courtney Wooleyhan pose with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Tanger Outlets.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Two Daytona Beach police officers who had just finished escorting Santa and Mrs. Claus at a local mall busted a group of shoplifters in the parking lot, authorities said.

Officers Joe Evans and Courtney Wooleyhan were at Tanger Outlets on Saturday evening for the tree lighting ceremony. After the ceremony, they took pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus and spoke with shoppers before going back into their normal service.

Police said that as the officers were walking to the parking lot, they saw two men removing a tire from a vehicle. Evans and Wooleyhan detained the men and the two women they were with. The officers then discovered stolen merchandise from Old Navy, H&M, Express, Polo, Rue 21 and Under Armour in their vehicle, according to a news release.

Johnarian Young, Shaijuan Christie and Debbie Champagnie

The merchandise and the tire were returned to their owners and Johnarian Young, Shaijuan Christie, Debbie Champagnie and a 16-year-old were taken into custody, authorities said.

"Officers Evans and Wooleyhan did a great job spotting the thieves and detaining them quickly," department officials said in a news release.

Police said two of the suspects were on felony probation and one had an outstanding warrant.

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