Surprise Police arrest couple involved in retail theft ring

Sgt. Tim Klarkowski
Special to Independent Newsmedia

On June 19 the Surprise Police Department’s Neighborhood Response Unit arrested Joshua Atherton (37 years old) and Summerlea Hunt (33 years old) as a result of a two month long investigation into an organized retail theft operation.

Atherton and Hunt are both residents of Buckeye.

Joshua Atherton

The investigation into the activities of Atherton and Hunt began in May. The Surprise Police Department’s NRU in conjunction with Frys Food Stores Organized Retail Crime Investigations team identified the Buckeye couple as being responsible for more than 100 cases, all of which involved the theft of liquor from Fry’s stores.

The thefts occurred throughout Maricopa County at various Fry’s Food locations; the estimated loss was more than $40,000.

When the pair was arrested on June 19 they had just exited a Frys store carrying

Summerlea Hunt

backpacks filled with stolen liquor. They subsequently indicated they had been engaged in these activities since December 2016.

Atherton and Hunt were booked into the Maricopa County 4th Avenue jail on nineteen felony charges which included: organized retail theft, trafficking in stolen property, removing an anti-theft device, and fraudulent schemes.

Editor’s Note; Sgt. Tim Klarkowski is a public information officer for the Surprise Police Department

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