Pair accused of shoplifting cell phone from store

Around 9:30 p.m. last Saturday night, the Linton Police Department got a call about a man and a woman in a store who were suspected of shoplifting. Police responded and stopped them as they were walking out.

Tristan Hyler

Tristan Hyler

Damian Scott Russell, 22, Linton, and Tristan Phoenix Hyler, 25, Linton, were both arrested at the Dollar General Store on A Street NW in Linton.

LPD Officer Joe Riley, the investigating officer, said the first officer to arrive at the store after the call came in was LPD Sgt. Logan Hobbs and he detained the two as they were leaving the store.

Russell wasn’t carrying anything but Hyler was carrying a pink bag.

The officers asked to search her bag and Riley said she gave consent.

Riley reported finding a Verizon 4G LTE cell phone still in the package but with the bottom of the package ripped off.

Damian Russell

Damian Russell

When they were questioned, they allegedly said Hyler’s phone was broken and Russell was going to get her a new one. She said the phone in her bag was a phone Russell got for her a couple of days earlier at WalMart.

The bottom of the phone box had been damaged with the barcode torn off but the barcode was recovered inside the store and it matched store inventory.

Both were placed under arrest but then Russell became agitated and physically resisted being placed in a patrol car.

However, on the way to jail, Russell allegedly gave a voluntary statement to Sgt. Hobbs saying he had broken Hyler’s phone and they were going to the store to buy one, but once there, he tampered with the phone package, removed the barcode but then got “cold feet” and decided he did not want to steal it, but Hyler put the phone in her bag anyway.

Both were booked in then scheduled to appear in Greene Superior Court for initial hearings on Tuesday.

Russell is charged with theft, a Class A misdemeanor, and resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor.

Hyler is charged with theft, a Class A misdemeanor.