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Man caught stealing fishing reels pleads guilty, sentenced to 10 years

by Emily Waldrep

According to Assistant District Attorney Dan Hunt, Vaughn Longino likes to steal fishing reels from Walmart.

On February 14, 2013, Heather Mullican, an Asset Protection Officer for Walmart, observed Longino select several fishing reels and place them in a blue cooler he had sitting on top of his shopping cart. Longino then went to the hardware department and cut open the fishing reel packaging, putting the reels in his pockets. He left the packaging and the cooler on a shelf in the hardware department and exited the store. Mullican had already called for help, and Megan Schofield, another Asset Protection Officer, confronted Longino just outside the store.

Longino forced his way past Schofield, injuring her in the process, and ran to his truck. Mullican was able to get a description of the truck and a license plate number.

On May 2, 2013, Longino carried out a similar theft at the Walmart in Jasper. In that incident, he drove away from the store in the same truck, and was pursued by Jasper Police, Jasper County Sheriffs, DPS Troopers, Angelina County Sheriffs and San Augustine Sheriffs. He was eventually arrested and charged with Theft, as well as Evading Arrest with a Vehicle. He was charged in Tyler County with Robbery, due to the injury to Schofield in the process of the Theft.

Dan Hunt, Assistant District Attorney, was preparing the case for jury trial. Hunt offered Longino 10 years in prison in exchange for a guilty plea. Longino was facing up to 20 years if convicted by the jury.

"Longino has a long history of Theft convictions, and has been incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on nine prior occasions," Hunt said. "He will add to that now."

He pled guilty in front of Judge Jerome Owens in Tyler County District Court on April 10, 2014 and was sentenced to 10 years.