Downtown business owner’s vigilance led police to culprit
By Lisa Pett
A Wisconsin Rapids woman was arrested on Friday for allegedly stealing over $500 worth of merchandise from Girls in Pearls, a downtown boutique, after the owner discovered the items missing and reviewed store surveillance tapes.
Natalie Norton, 49, appeared via video from the Portage County Jail and is facing felony retail theft charges relating to the incident.
According to the Girls in Pearls owner Margaret O’Connor-Govett, a suspect later identified as Norton was in the store on June 18 when O’Connor-Govett realized the woman matched the description of suspect wanted in connection with an earlier theft which occured April 11.
“I had my suspicions,” said O’Connor-Govett, in a telephone interview this week. “I even told her that the entire store was under surveillance.”
The woman reportedly took four pairs of sunglasses and a necklace then left the store without paying. After reviewing the store’s security video the following day, O’Connor-Govett called police to report the theft. O’Connor-Govett had previously recorded the woman’s license plate number, which led police to Norton.
Officers from the Stevens Point Police Department made contact with Norton, who admitted to being in the store but denied taking the items. Based on the security recording, she was arrested on suspicion of felony retail theft.
O’Connor-Govett says the store does have issues with shoplifters which is why they installed the security cameras.
“Crime Stoppers has been a big help in finding out who they are,” she added.
Norton was released on a $1000 signature bond and is due back in court for an initial appearance on July 6.