When WDAM aired the story, one of tbe first things said by Chief Cowart was "because it was an alderman we took the initial complaint, did a report and we referred it to Lamar County." To me, that sounds like Jay McGraw was given preferential treatment because he's an alderman. So, either the Lumberton Police Chief instructed the responding officer to let McGraw walk or the manager at the Shell Station was hesitant to pursue charges because Jay is an alderman. Either way, the ball was dropped. Based on the things posted by Leslie, cashier at Shell, Jay McGraw was a trusted fixture at the Shell Station. Leslie even stated that they trusted Jay enough to leave him inside the store alone whenever they had to go change out a propane tank because saying they left him in the store while they took a cigarette break wouldn't sound professional.
At this point, one employee, Leslie, is saying the matter is still being investigated while another employee, Briana, is saying the manager's hands are tied because the bosses won't allow charges to be filed. So we have two different employees giving two different stories. You can view my interaction with them on the Lumberton Informer Facebook page. According to Leslie, the cost of prosecuting Jay McGraw for shoplifting would be too costly for the taxpayers of Lumberton since his punishment would be nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Well, that would be up to the judge. The reason this shoplifting case is so problematic for me and many other residents of Lumberton, despite Leslie's claim that the Shell Station does not prosecute shoplifters so there's no bias or special treatment, is the fact that Jay McGraw was not processed for a crime he committed. Therefore, misdemeanor or not, there's no repercussions and without getting charged with shoplifting, we the citizens can not compel the Ethics Commission to revoke his bond because he was never charged with a crime. Jay said he was embarrassed but he don't know what embarrassment is until he's handcuffed, taken to jail, finger printed, given an inmate number and mug shot, put in a holding cell, forced to wear that orange jumpsuit, then have a bond set and stand before a judge and enter a plea. People that commit a crime do not get to choose their punishment. By refusing to demand justice, the manager of the Shell Station is telling everyone they can steal and come back and negotiate their punishment. But wait, they wouldn't be given that opportunity because they're not an elected official. Wait, Leslie did try to equate Jay McGraw's egregious act with that of a little girl stealing a chocolate candy bar. If I have to describe the grand difference between a child stealing a candy bar and a twice elected senior citizen consciously stealing a Zippo lighter then Leslie is more obtuse than I could ever imagine.
There are people saying it's just a lighter. It's more than that; it's a mindset. There has to be something in you to compel you to steal. He wasn't stealing out of necessity because he just won a $1,000 from the store he was robbing. Maybe it was a side effect of his concussion or maybe he was under the influence of that mysterious mojo in his cup. Only Jay McGraw knows the truth and only Jay McGraw knows if this is habitual. My thing is this, if you steal, you will lie and that's not a person that should be making decisions for a city. Just four years ago, Mayor Miriam Holder was arrested solely on the word of Dennis Hobson who claimed she was obstructing justice. Here we are, four years later, and an alderman confesses during a news interview that he was guilty of shoplifting but no arrest has been made. And Leslie and Briana don't think the ball has been dropped. Seriously!?!