Crime Stoppers: Christmas Eve thief steals boots

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A shoplifter on Christmas Eve thwarted store security to literally walk out in a brand new pair of expensive boots.

This happened at Lebos footwear on Independence - a Charlotte business that opened nearly one hundred years ago. They're no stranger to a shoe switcheroo.

"The oldest trick in the world is to go in any shoe store take your shoes off, put them in the box and you walk out with a brand new pair of shoes on," said CMPD Detective Tori Roddey.

On surveillance a number of customers can be seen making last-minute Christmas purchases on the afternoon of December 24, including a man browsing around wearing old tennis shoes.

"He's just like a normal shopper, just looking around."

Along comes someone wearing a large cowboy hat. This is who Detective Roddey says is the store's theft prevention employee.

"The guy who goes around and looks at the video, making sure people aren't stealing."

The next image shows the first man in the tennis shoes, but he's now wearing $190 boots and walking out of the store. The security guard in the cowboy hat begins to follow him.

"Kind of following him around, thinking something might be suspicious here and all of the sudden, he's talking and then the guy takes off running."

The boot thief ran out and across Independence Boulevard before disappearing.

He's described as a white male, balding with a goatee, perhaps in the 40s or 50s.

Because the theft was under $1,000, he could be charged with misdemeanor larceny only. Yet, police would like your help to catch him.

Call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 and you could wind up with enough cash to buy your own new boots.

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