Past, Not Crime Catches Up with Alleged $60 Robbery Suspect at Target

By Alex Morgan

WOODLAND – Defendant Osbaldo Ponce is alleged to have shoplifted just $60 worth of items from a local Target—but it was his past that caught up with him.

A Target employee, and Officer Hector Torres testified last Wednesday in Yolo County Superior Court, with Judge David Reed presiding, about Ponce, who allegedly walked into a Target in West Sacramento and took merchandise with the intention of not paying for it.

During the hearing, a Target assets protection specialist testified about his involvement in the case on Jan. 21, 2020 when he saw Ponce walk into the Target with multiple reusable bags and a shopping cart.

The employee was conducting video surveillance and observed Ponce enter the store and immediately go to the back near the automotive items, electronics, and men’s department. Ponce made a few selections, putting them into his cart, and concealing others within his reusable bags.

After walking around the store and looking through the electronics section a second time, Ponce proceeded to walk toward the front of the store where the asset protection officer and another security officer confronted him.

Several employees then began to put into practice their training of detaining and de-escalating, which seemed to make the issue worse as they received no cooperation from Ponce, one employee said.

The employees detained Ponce by holding him and asking him to come back inside. Once Ponce agreed to go back inside, he was handcuffed. Ponce began pushing and attempting to flee.

Deputy Public Defender Emily Fisher questioned one employee about what his training as a Target employee consisted of and whether it included physical contact. The employee argued that physical contact is required when an individual is suspected of shoplifting, to retrieve the items. Fisher questioned the necessity of using force on an unarmed person.

The court then heard testimony that the only items that Ponce walked out with were two SD cards worth about $60. All other items were left behind which had amounted to $350.  The employee was then dismissed.

Peace Officer Torres said he arrived and searched the suspect nearby, confirming he found the SD cards in Ponce’s left jacket pocket as well as a meth pipe. The officer said Ponce was cooperative and let Torres handcuff him.

Ponce currently has three counts of misdemeanor probation dating back to 2019, where he was arrested, cited, and released on paraphernalia charges in May, September, and August of last year, and has been to prison for felony car theft. The defendant has multiple cases pending and has not made those court dates.

Although the court finds that this case is not as serious as others, failure of Ponce to attend his court dates resulted in the judge not releasing him.  He’s held in custody until Feb. 16.

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