JACKSON (WNE) — Nearly three weeks after a high-dollar shoplifting occurred at a local liquor store, police arrested a 50-year-old Romanian man for felony theft.
Police say Marian Firu shoplifted a $7,449 bottle of Scotch from The Liquor Store on Nov. 1.
They say security footage shows a man concealing the Dalmore 35 Year Scotch in the “crotch area of his pants” as he exited the store.
One of the officers recognized the suspect as a panhandler he had seen earlier that day after police received multiple calls about panhandling around town. The man and a woman seen in the security video had been holding signs looking for donations for a 7-year-old with cancer.
Firu wasn’t located until about 1 p.m. Nov. 21 when one of the Liquor Store employees spotted him panhandling on the corner of West Broadway and Highway 22. According to an affidavit filed in Teton County Circuit Court, the employee recognized Firu from the original incident.
Firu was charged with one count of felony theft. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Lt. Russ Ruschill of the Jackson Police Department said it is “likely” that the premise of Firu’s panhandling request is false but could not confirm that yet as Firu was not responsive to questioning.
Ruschill said the female panhandler has not been located.
According to court documents, Firu will require a Romanian interpreter for court proceedings.
His son posted a $7,500 cash bail, and Firu was released Nov. 23. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 8 at 10:15 a.m. in Teton County Circuit Court.