Convicted felon wanted for stealing from local Goodwill stores

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An ex-con who has spent the last 30 years in and out of prison is accused of repeatedly targeting Columbus-area Goodwill stores, whose mission is to help uplift the less fortunate, including those with criminal records.

The Columbus City Attorney’s Office issued a warrant for 52-year-old Anthony Wayne Armstead  in connection to several thefts totaling hundreds of dollars’ worth of merchandise from Goodwill stores throughout Columbus.

According to reports, on May 9, Armstead entered a Goodwill store on the city’s north side, loaded up a shopping cart full of “new goods and men’s items,” then walked out without paying.  He reentered the store and proceeded to steal an additional nine bed sheet sets and 30 sunglasses.

Armstead returned to the same store the following day and filled up another shopping cart full of items and exited out a back door.  Reports estimate that Armstead stole a total of $699.22 worth of goods in these three incidents.

On September 25, 2015 Armstead struck another Goodwill store, stealing dozens of items, including “jerseys, donated goods, and new goods” totaling approximately $200.

Armstead eventually pleaded guilty to charges related to his Goodwill heists and was given a six-month suspended sentence by the judge.  Armstead, however, apparently couldn’t help himself and is wanted again after being identified as the perpetrator behind the theft of approximately $150 worth of clothing and electronics from a northeast side Goodwill store on March 8, 2016.

“I’ve been prosecuting cases for close to 20 years and have never heard of anyone stealing from Goodwill before,” said First Assistant City Prosecutor Bill R. Hedrick.  “If there were Academy Awards for criminals, Mr. Armstead’s version of ‘Goodwill hunting’ definitely would earn him a nomination for most despicable crook in the petty theft category.”

Armstead’s criminal record in Ohio dates back to 1986 and includes multiple charges of theft, aggravated burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and felony receiving stolen property.

He is described as a black male, 5’10”, 105 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information is asked to contact First Assistant City Prosecutor Bill R. Hedrick at 614.645.8874 or brhedrick@columbus.gov.