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May 7, 2013

Shoplifter impersonates an officer

Sheriff’s Facebook post leads to arrests

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — What began as a search for a shoplifter became a case of impersonating an officer, sending two people to jail in the investigation.

The saga began with a shoplifter at the Dollar General Store at the intersection of Ky. 229 and Ky. 1189, four miles south of London, around 7:25 p.m. Sunday. A man came into the store and stole some items. But when confronted, the man showed store employees a badge, stating he was a deputy. He walked out of the store and left the premises in an older white model Crown Victoria car, which is the type of  vehicle formerly used by sheriff’s officials.

Surveillance cameras in the store picked up the man’s image, which was then posted on the Laurel County Sheriff’s Facebook page. Within an hour following the post, deputies received a tip about the identity of the suspect.

On Thursday afternoon, Deputy Larry Parrott, Senior Sgt. Greg Poynter, Deputy Mike Ashurst, and Deputy Robbie Grimes went to the residence of the individual identified as the shoplifter.

Robert C. Trabish Jr., 28, of Villagewood Court in London, was charged with impersonating a police officer and tampering with physical evidence.

Trabish’s 52-year-old girlfriend, Marie M. Belle Richardson, also of Villagewood Court in London, was also arrested. While police were searching the residence, Richardson took the fake badge Trabish had shown at the store during the shoplifting incident, and ran into the woods in an attempt to hide it.

Both Richardson and Trabish were lodged in the Laurel County Detention Center following their arrests. They were arraigned in Laurel District Court on Friday morning. As of Friday afternoon, both remained incarcerated under a $10,000 surety bond. Trabish, however, was eligible for home incarceration until a preliminary hearing set for Tuesday, May 7. Richardson is also scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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