By Jeff Lehr
Employees of Kohl’s department store in Joplin were surprised to find a man dressed in women’s undergarments walking about the store Thursday morning when they arrived for work.
“Actually, he was wearing a pink camisole and some pink women’s underwear,” Cpl. Chuck Niess of the Joplin Police Department said of a 52-year-old homeless man arrested on suspicion of burglary and spending some portion of the night inside the store at 301 S. Geneva Ave.
The man did not attempt to leave the business, and Kohl’s employees did not try to apprehend him, Niess said. Instead, they called police at 6:01 a.m., he said. A responding officer discovered the man asleep under a blanket at the back of the store, he said.
The man was still wearing the pink negligee and panties.
There was reason to believe the suspect had tried on a number of the store’s undergarments for women. Nine pair of panties and four bras were found in a pile near where he was sleeping, Niess said.
He said the undergarments — worth a total of $375 — were deemed no longer salable by Kohl’s. The suspect’s own clothes had not been found inside the store by the time he was arrested and taken to Joplin City Jail, he said.
Police were seeking a charge of second-degree burglary against the man. But the charge had yet to be filed by the county prosecutor’s office by late Thursday afternoon.
Niess said there was no evidence that the man had tried to break into any cash registers or store safe. He said the suspect also did not appear to be intoxicated.
Niess said police have had prior contacts with the man, although not for any burglaries or other felony offenses. He said the prior incidents were of the nature of complaints from businesses regarding alleged loitering or panhandling on their premises.
An officer had responded to an alarm at Kohl’s at 1:30 a.m. Thursday. The building was checked and found to be secure, Niess said. An employee with a key to the store had met the officer at the business and had a look inside, he said. They had not found anyone or anything amiss, he said.
As they were leaving, the alarm sounded again and they had rechecked the building, all to no avail, he said.
By Jeff Lehr
- Joplin Metro
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