Newton Police were able to locate and arrest a Statesville man Tuesday that stole money from an area grocery store after distracting an employee.
Authorities say Burley Roberts Mayberry, 37, of Statesville, walked into the El Caporal grocery store in Newton at about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday and stole an undisclosed amount of money from the store's cash register.
Newton Police Lt. M.D. Beal said Mayberry originally asked store clerk Sheyla Diaz for empty cardboard boxes to distract the employee. When Diaz went to the back of the store to get the boxes, Mayberry jumped over the counter, stole the money from the register and fled the scene in a 2000 Chrysler Town and Country minivan.
Beal said a “helpful witness in the parking lot” helped authorities get the Chrysler’s license plate tag, which came back to a Statesville address.
A Conover Police officer got behind the Chrysler van minutes after the incident occurred, but did not stop the vehicle because of initial confusion over the van’s tag, Beal said. After further investigating the scene, officers traveled to the Statesville address and apprehended Mayberry.
Diaz, who began working at El Caporal a week ago, said she never thought the man would steal money from the store.
“I’ve seen this thousands of times on TV,” Diaz said. “How did I not know what was going on?”
Diaz said she closed the register when she went to the back of the store, but said Mayberry jumped over the counter and opened it “with a push of a button.”
Diaz said the fleeing vehicle nearly struck a pole in the middle of the parking lot while they were driving away.
“Everyone kept saying he took the money; he took the money; he took the money,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God. This is all my fault.’”
In the end, Diaz is glad no one was hurt.
“It was scary,” she said. “But I’m just glad that I’m OK and everyone else is OK.”
Newton Police charged Mayberry with misdemeanor larceny.