barcode scanner at self checkout

Michigan Man Charged With Swapping Barcodes To Steal From Walmart Self-Checkout

Self-checkouts have been a modern-day boon to customers at any grocery store. But, problems arise when people try to circumnavigate the rules around it. Recently, a man from Alpena was charged with allegations of stealing from a store. Apparently, the man had switched the barcodes of items with items that were cheaper. This individual, called Joseph Carl Alexander, aged 36, was arraigned on August 30, 2022, in the 88th District Court of Alpena. The authorities slapped Joseph with first-degree retail fraud, and since he was a habitual offender, the charges would definitely accrue. The judge in question had set his bond at $25,000- with the next court appearance on the 13th of September 2022.[1] 

Joseph Carl Alexander, the man accused of committing the self-checkout fraud.
Image Credits: Michigan State Police

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The Self-Checkout Fiasco Is A First Degree Retail Fraud

One employee found out that the barcode swapping took place at the self-checkout center. After this, they confronted Joseph, who then stated that he needed to check on his kids. A review of the surveillance tapes showed that this man had been swapping barcodes for more than $1,100. According to the Department of Corrections in Michigan, Joseph already had previous convictions for possessing contraband, delivering narcotics, and attempting unlawful driving away. [2]

Officers who rushed to the scene mentioned that this individual had been taking the items to the self-checkout register. After the interaction with the loss prevention employee, he ran away from the grocery store. Investigators reviewed the tape with other such tapes and correlated that the man could be Joseph Alexander. They also managed to find out that the suspect had done the same thing all the way back in June. In fact, there were trails of him having stolen close to $1,100 in merchandise.

If you think this is the first time someone has tried to pull something like this you would be incorrect. Just last year a man was charged after a man switched barcodes on an expensive vacuum at a Lowe’s location. You can check out the story below.

Barcode swapping happens more than people think, and police are on the lookout.

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  1. Alpena man accused of stealing items at Walmart by swapping barcodes.” Detroit News. Charles E. Ramirez. September 1, 2022.
  2. Michigan man charged with swapping barcodes to steal from Walmart self-checkout.” Fox LA. Amber Ainsworth. September 1, 2022.