In the annals of nicotine-related crimes--Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Irish Republican Army smuggling cigarettes to raise money for terrorist attacks, or the U.S. government raising cigarette taxes to fund overspending--we may be soon be able to add the name of Nathan Sheridan*.
*Not on the same level of criminality or with the same product.
The 37-year-old Mission Viejo resident is accused of pulling a string of Nicorette gum thefts from the Target store at Jeronimo Road and Los Alisos Boulevard.
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His alleged method was masterful: sheriff's investigators claim Sheridan put Nicorette boxes under his clothing and walked out of the store on at least five separate occasions since November. Total loss: at least 10 boxes worth $250.
The gum-napper was under surveillance for weeks, but authorities did not match him to a license plate caught by cameras in the parking lot until last month. Sheridan was served a warrant at his home and arrested on four counts of theft with prior convictions on April 26. No stolen chewy stuff was recovered.
According to an Orange County Register report, Sheridan previously pleaded guilty to multiple charges of petty theft, second-degree burglary and grand theft and has been sentenced to three years of probation, restitution and participation in several court-ordered recovery programs. He was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail before a court hearing scheduled May 10.
The Reg assigned the best named reporter in Orange County to cover this gummy caper: Kristy Chu. Staff writer Siggy Buttz was apparently busy.