Teen Hid in Westfarms After Hours, Tried to Steal Jewelry: Police

Farmington Police have arrested a teenager who is accused of staying in a store at Westfarms after hours and stealing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry on Friday morning.

Officers responded to a burglar alarm at the JC Penney store in Westfarms at 2:16 a.m. When officers arrived, they found the exterior doors and the store was secure.

A second alarm was activated at 2:46 a.m. and the alarm company contacted a store employee to come to the store.

While officers waited for the employee to arrive so they could check the inside of the store, police said a maintenance worker performing snow removal in the parking lots noticed a suspicious man wearing dark clothes squatting near a snow bank.

Officers said the man ran off, but left a partially buried backpack in a snow bank at the edge of the parking lot.

After the maintenance worker alerted police at the scene, officers learned the backpack was full of jewelry and watches with JC Penney store tags still attached.

Detectives were called to the scene to assist with the investigation. While they viewed the store's surveillance video, an officer who was guarding shoe impressions in the snow said they noticed a man wearing dark clothing pacing near the snow bank where the backpack full of stolen items was found.

The officer said the man's sneakers appeared to be the same type of shoe that left the impression in the snow.

Officers detained the man and detectives said they immediately recognized him as the burglary suspect from the store's surveillance video.

Police said 18-year-old Tarik Ousha Mathis was arrested and charged with burglary.

Mathis told officers he was walking around JC Penney before the store closed on Thursday night. He said he hid in a dark storage room in the shoe department until he knew the store had closed. Surveillance video showed him entering the storage room at 7:28 p.m. on Thursday and leaving at 2:09 a.m. on Friday.

Surveillance video showed Mathis stealing a backpack and then filling it with assorted watches and jewelry, worth approximately $9,900. Police said the video also showed him hiding deeper into the store when officers responded to the first alarm and then shows him leaving the store when police left.

According to police, Mathis came back to look for the backpack when officers were at the scene because he thought his state identification and social security card were inside. Detectives said his identification cards were not inside.

Mathis was held on a $50,000 bond and was in court on Monday.

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