Ohio man accused of stealing thousands of dollars of iPhones, iPads from Walmart store

BURLINGTON, Wis. -- Maurice Whyte of Columbus, Ohio is accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of iPhones and iPads from Walmart store in Burlington in December 2019. Whyte, 26, faces a single charge of felony retail theft - intentionally take > $10,000.

According to the criminal complaint, Whyte is suspected of being one of three persons who were in the Burlington Walmart shortly after 4 a.m. on Dec. 23, 2019. Two of the persons "served as lookouts while the third proceeded to cut the locks off of the cellphone cages using bolt cutters, ultimately removing and concealing" the iPhones and iPads. The complaint indicates the suspects concealed the devices "in an Oster toaster oven box" that they had emptied. They then proceeded to the self-checkout aisle. The complaint says they scanned "the price that appears on the now-empty Oster toaster oven box filled with electronics and pay the costs." The estimated value of the loss, police say, was in excess of $24,000. The complaint says "all 3 suspects then enter a black Chevy Tahoe and drive away."

Prior to this theft, officials learned of a similar theft at the Walmart -- around 2:25 a.m. Employees "conducted an inventory search of the missing iPhones and iPads and combined, the total documented loss was reported to be $37,459, which included 33 iPhones and 9 iPads."

Investigators later learned of "an identical theft" at the Kenosha Walmart. The suspects got away with nearly $24,000 in electronics in that case. Similar thefts were also reported in two communities in northwest Indiana as well as two communities in northern Illinois.

The complaint says it was learned one of the subjects in the Burlington thefts was "Maurice Whyte who dressed as a woman." Police say Whyte's Facebook page had a picture of him "wearing makeup and it appeared to be the same person." Ohio Highway Patrol official also indicated a vehicle titled to Whyte was a 2016 Chevrolet Black Tahoe -- similar to the vehicle spotted at the Burlington incident.

Whyte was expected to make his initial appearance in Racine County court on Tuesday, March 3. If convicted, Whyte faces up to ten years in prison and $25,000 in fines.