Tony Sheppard may have thought he was off the clock and just killing time before the National Retail Federation kicked off its Loss Prevention Conference & Expo in New Orleans on Tuesday evening. But he quickly discovered otherwise.
Sheppard, who is nationwide manager of ORC investigations for CVS/pharmacy, happened to be in Harrah's Casino on Monday, the day before the conference was set to begin.
At around 5:30 p.m., he rounded a corner in the casino and came face to face with someone he recognized—a professional shoplifter he had helped put away several years ago during an ORC investigation in Kentucky.
Sheppard happened to know this notorious booster was now out of jail and he was almost certain it was the same man he had just passed in the casino. To confirm, he called Ben Dugan, an ORC investigator for Walgreen's, and asked if he could send a photo of the booster and to see if there were any outstanding warrants for his arrest. Sure enough, photos confirmed it was his guy. Dugan was also able to confirm there was an outstanding warrant in Florida for this booster's arrest and, through the casino's security department, that he was booked at the casino hotel through Friday.
With this information in hand, Sheppard contacted the Louisiana State Police, which has an office in the casino. The state police agreed to apprehend the man. They went to his room, but he wasn't there. After some searching, law enforcement officers discovered the booster who shoplifted his way across the south at the craps table, where he was arrested.
And that's how Tony Sheppard, with help from his counterpart at Walgreen's and the Louisiana State Police, solved a crime in his spare time while in New Orleans for a conference.