48 Exclusive: New document describes over 30 alleged thefts by Huntsville City Councilman

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 1:21 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 2:44 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - WAFF 48 obtained exclusive new details in the shoplifting investigation of Huntsville City Councilman Devyn Keith.

A new document obtained on Wednesday alleges the city councilman committed over 30 thefts across three Huntsville Walmart locations. Keith was booked into the Madison County jail by deputies for a second time this week after his recent arrest at one of the Walmart locations in named in the police document.

Per the obtained document, an asset protection coach with Walmart notified officers with the Huntsville Police Department about a man who was later identified as Devyn Keith stealing from three different Walmart locations. Keith allegedly shoplifted from the locations on dates ranging from Nov. 14, 2022, until Feb. 2, 2023.

The thefts that were specifically outlined in the newly obtained document occurred at the Walmart at 6140 University Drive.

In early January, a self-checkout host noticed that Keith had been “skip-scanning” items at the self-checkout and that he did not pay for his entire cart. “Skip-scanning” is where an offender will intentionally not scan all of their items at the self-checkout. (All text in italics below are direct quotes from the newly obtained document)

“On Jan. 5, 2023, a self-checkout host identified Mr. Keith “skip and scanning” items at the self-checkout of this store. The checkout host saw that Mr. Keith did not pay for all of the items that he had in his cart and confronted him about it. The total value of this incident was $127.88. The self-checkout host then advised Mr. Keith to return to the kiosk and pay for the remainder of the items to which Mr. Keith obliged.”

Following the incident that occurred in early January, Walmart launched an investigation into Keith as per standard protocol for customers suspected of “skip-scanning.” Walmart searched Keith’s credit card in its system, then reviewed the footage from each incident in which the card was used.

Through the investigation, Walmart determined that the majority of the times that Mr. Keith went to Walmart, he committed theft by “skip-scanning.”

Staff determined that he had committed 15 thefts at the Walmart on University Drive, totaling over $300 in stolen merchandise.

“The total dollar amount for this store is $331.69 video footage documenting these thefts has been recovered and produced by Walmart loss prevention staff.”

The document shows that a large number of thefts were reported at different locations.

“The total amount of thefts that have been reported so far is 31 different thefts.”

Keith was arrested Thursday. He is accused of not scanning headphones priced at approximately $20.

“Loss prevention associates saw Mr. Keith enter the store to make a return to Walmart. He then used that same bag to conceal the headphones following his purchase approximately 15 minutes after he made his return. According to loss prevention at the self-checkout kiosk, after not scanning the headphones, Mr. Keith went to the bathroom in the front of the store with his shopping cart and went inside the bathroom, leaving his shopping cart outside. Loss prevention associates then witnessed Mr. Keith exit the bathroom and proceed to bag some of the merchandise, including the headphones, inside of the Walmart bag he obtained from his return. Mr. Keith was then stopped by loss prevention when he passed all points of sale. Mr. Keith was then brought back to the loss prevention office where he was later apprehended by Huntsville Police.”

Fellow City Councilman Bill Kling commented on the ongoing investigation on Wednesday.

“I commend the city, attorney’s office, municipal court, and the police department, for arranging for outside agencies to handle this situation to avoid any perceived conflict of interest by the city.”

A Walmart spokesperson said surveillance video will not be shared and referred all further questions to area law enforcement agencies.

Keith posted the following statement on his Facebook page on Wednesday.

“At advice of my legal counsel, I will no longer be discussing my ongoing litigation. I have received a court date and I will give my final statement at tomorrow’s city council meeting. More importantly…know that I love you all and I thank God for you.”

WAFF 48 reached out to Keith for further comment, but he has not responded to our request.

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