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Sting operation thwarts illegal sale in Walmart parking lot

Greenville’s Walmart Supercenter was the destination for a different sort of shopper Wednesday night—or so one man thought as authorities thwarted what they believe to be an attempted illegal sale in the business’s parking lot.

Dexter Allen, a 26-year-old Birmingham resident, was charged with felony third-degree receipt of stolen property for attempting to sell a utility trailer while using the Greenville Walmart’s parking lot as a place to conduct business.

Dexter Allen

Officers also located a handgun in Allen’s waistband at the time of arrest and, due to his status as a convicted felon, earned him another charge of felon in possession of a pistol.

The investigation began a few days earlier when the Greenville Police Department’s Lt. Joseph Disney was contacted about a stolen utility trailer from Tuscaloosa that may have been sold in Greenville.

“He tracked down the stolen trailer and obtained a statement from the person who was in possession of it,” said Greenville Police Department chief Justin Lovvorn.

“Lt. Disney was able to identify who brought the trailer to Greenville and sold it to him and then obtained a warrant for his arrest.”

Disney then used an informant to arrange another transaction with the suspect who had brought the stolen trailer to Greenville.

Allen returned to the Greenville Walmart parking lot Wednesday evening with another utility trailer that he intended to sell to the informant but, unbeknownst to him, the Greenville Police Department were lying in wait as a part of a sting operation to catch Allen in the act.

Authorities were able to move in on Allen when he arrived, and he was promptly taken into custody without incident.

“The investigation division did an excellent job of not only tracking down property and suspects in this case, but also in making sure that the individual involved was apprehended,” Lovvorn said.

“I commend their efforts and dedication to the job they do for the city of Greenville.”

Allen is being held in the Butler County Correctional Facility, and more charges are pending from other jurisdictions in which the property was originally stolen from.

Investigators are currently in the process of verifying whether the second trailer he brought to Greenville was also stolen.