A Carbondale man was sentenced to prison Thursday after pleading guilty to November theft charges, according to Jackson County State’s Attorney Michael Carr.
Larry Coats, 48, was sentenced to three years in prison for retail theft, which will be followed by one year of mandatory supervised release.
At about 11:49 p.m. on Nov. 25, two officers with the Carbondale Police Department were patrolling the Walmart parking lot in Carbondale. During the patrol, officers noticed Coats trying to load a 58” Samsung Smart TV into the side door of a white van with a female driving.
The officers recognized the driver of the van and knew her driving privileges were suspended. They also knew the driver had been involved in retail thefts in the past.
When the officers approached the van and asked Coats for his name, he gave a false one, also telling officers he paid for the television in the self-checkout lane. Coats couldn’t produce a receipt, and based on his demeanor, Carr says, officers suspected he stole the television, leading them to future investigation.
While officers were waiting to see security footage from the store, Coats changed his story several times, Carr says. However, when the video became available, officers noticed Coats place the television in a shopping cart, picking up a case of beer and then exiting the store without paying for any of the items.
Coats has been previously convicted of 14 theft-related offenses in Illinois, Missouri and New Jersey. Those convictions include retail theft, burglary residential burglary, forgery and receipt of stolen property.