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Target shoplifting charges filed against former sheriff's employee

Tuesday - 7/15/2014, 10:30am  ET

WASHINGTON - A former Fairfax County sheriff's office employee faces two charges of petty larceny in connection with shoplifting incidents at a Target store in Leesburg, Virgina.

Leesburg police obtained two warrants against Robert H. Palmer Jr., 50, Leesburg, according to a news release.

Palmer accepted the warrants at the police station.

After being taken before a magistrate, he was released on $5,000 unsecured bond.

He will be back in court on Aug. 12 in Loudoun County.

A conviction on each misdemeanor could result in a 12-month jail term and a fine of up to $2,500.

The charges stem from an alleged May 27 theft.

Target security officer Dallas Northington says he was fired after reporting the theft to Leesburg police. He was told he violated store procedures by not filling out paperwork before contacting police, according to the Associated Press.

The sheriff's employee, who was unnamed at the time, retired several days after the theft was reported, the AP reported.

Leesburg police quickly identified the suspected thief as the sheriff's deputy and contacted the Fairfax County Sheriff's Department May 30.

The Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney's office was waiting to know whether Target would seek charges before proceeding with a criminal case, according to Leesburg police.

Police also say they were not involved in Target's decision to fire Northington.

Northington told The Washington Post that he responded to the shoplifting case the same as any other case. He filed a police report and provided the surveillance video. He also says that a supervisor at the store recognized the suspect.

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