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Prohibited exit prompts arrest of alleged Watertown shoplifter

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A suspected shoplifter attempted Tuesday night to avoid detection by taking an employees’ exit at Great American Food Store, 672 State St., according to Watertown police.

It didn’t work.

Rodney H. Pierce, 46, of 522 Emerson St., Apt. 8, was arrested at 9:45 p.m. on charges of petit larceny and third-degree criminal trespass and, in an unrelated incident, second-degree aggravated harassment. An ex-convict, he was detained for arraignment in City Court.

Police said Mr. Pierce was carrying beer and a steak, together priced at $15.38, when he entered the employees-only sector at the rear of the store. The third count stems from an alleged threatening telephone message left for Tina M. Monica, 40, of 380 Brainard St., on Monday afternoon, police said.

Mr. Pierce was discharged from a state prison in December 2006 after serving about 2 years for second-degree criminal contempt, attempted assault, resisting arrest and violating probation. The contempt conviction also involved Ms. Monica.

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