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Police are trying to locate a thief who stole law enforcement-related items from a Hot Springs military surplus shop and then used the items to shoplift other items the next day.

The thief entered Yellow Jacket Military, 410 Airport Road, on March 21 and examined various items, police said. He first looked at a volunteer firefighter's badge and asking if it was a police badge, Cpl. Kirk Zaner said Wednesday.

The man gathered items including two black shirts, one with "POLICE" on it and another with "SHERIFF" on it in white letters, a silver "security" badge, a leather duty belt and a black bat. He reportedly then fled the store without paying.

Zaner noted the store requires purchasers of certain law enforcement items to show the proper credentials of the corresponding agency before a sale is allowed.

The next day, the same theif is believed to have entered Bed Bath & Beyond, 1454 Higdon Ferry Road, wearing the black shirt with "POLICE" on it and a badge fastened to his belt. He reportedly gathered several items, including two fans and a speaker, and then fled the store without paying.

Store employees tried to stop him, but he was able to get away. Zaner noted the suspect probably figured the employees would be less likely to try to tackle him or stop him if they thought he was law enforcement.

Authorities asked anyone with information to contact investigators.


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