AP NEWS

Gering man, already charged with burglarizing a Dollar General, arrested after shoplifting at second store

November 15, 2018

SCOTTSBLUFF — A Gering man accused of burglarizing a Dollar General store is now accused of shoplifting at a second store.

Austen Ferguson, 22, has been charged with theft by shoplifting in a Nov. 10 shoplifting. He also faces charges of burglary, stemming from the Oct. 25 burglary at another Scottsbluff store.

Police investigated a shoplifting that occurred at the Dollar General Store in the 900 block of W. 27th Street on Nov. 10 and a store manager identified Ferguson as a suspect in a burglary that had occurred last month at the Dollar General store located on East Overland. The woman accused Ferguson of shoplifting a pair of Hanes T-shirts and said he was observed leaving the area on a bike, headed toward Walmart.

At Walmart, police officers made contact with Ferguson in the electronics department of the store. Ferguson denied having rode a bicycle to the store, and that a backpack next to the bike belonged to him. However, officers were able to get security footage that showed Ferguson arriving at the store on the bike and Ferguson admitted the bike and bicycle belonged to him.

During a search of the backpack, police located a syringe with a white residue in it and a small, self-sealed plastic bag with smaller self-sealed bags and a scale inside the backpack. The white substances tested positive for methamphetamine.

Ferguson has also been charged with burglary, a Class IIA felony, in connection with an Oct. 25 burglary at the East Overland Dollar General. Police were called to the store at about 4:48 a.m. on Oct. 25 and surveillance footage showed a suspect breaking a sliding glass window by throwing a rock through it, then breaking the glass with their body shortly after 3 a.m. The suspect then entered the building.

Authorities identified Ferguson as the suspect after he returned to the store later on Oct. 25, wearing the same clothes that the suspect in the burglary had worn. Police searched a backpack that he was carrying and two phone packages that matched phones stolen in the burglary were found in the backpack.

Ferguson had been released from jail after paying 10 percent of a $20,000 bond when the shoplifting occurred and he was arrested.

mloeks@starherald.com

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