Alleged Woodbury Walmart heist involved covert coolerA man who allegedly made off with stolen merchandise at a Woodbury store wasn’t as fortunate the three days later, when authorities said he was poised to pull off another theft.
By: Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
A man who allegedly made off with stolen merchandise at a Woodbury store wasn’t as fortunate the three days later, when authorities said he was poised to pull off another theft.
William Ray Bronson, 34, was arrested June 12 after staff at Walmart alerted police to a possible theft in progress. Washington County prosecutors charged him with one count of aiding and abetting theft, a felony.
According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, police were called June 12 to Walmart after staff there witnessed a man and woman staging merchandise near a door. Store security later placed the value of that merchandise at $845.
When police got there, they learned the male suspect – later identified as Bronson – had left the store without merchandise but the female was still inside.
Walmart workers told police the male suspect had been involved in a June 9 theft.
A Woodbury detective caught up with the female suspect as she attempted to leave. She admitted to being with the male suspect, but said she only bought plants. She denied accompanying him during the June 9 theft.
The woman, identified in the complaint as M.D., said she and the man staged the merchandise near the store door but didn’t buy them because she only had $15 with her.
When police spoke with Bronson he allegedly provided incorrect information about his name and age. Police later learned he had outstanding warrants out of Dakota County.
A review of Walmart surveillance video of the June 9 incident revealed a man pushing out a loaded cartful of merchandise without paying for it. Workers identified the man in the video as Bronson, who has no permanent address.
Stolen items included a 60-quart cooler that contained more stolen merchandise. Tools, a weather alert radio, towels and a Canon camera had been placed inside the cooler, according to the complaint.
A search of the suspect vehicle – a white cargo van – turned up the cooler.
Bronson’s criminal history in Minnesota includes a 2010 conviction for assault on a peace officer and a 2011 felony drug conviction.
Bronson’s next hearing on the theft charge is Thursday, June 28.