5-Finger Discount Leads to Felony Charge for NP Man

Matthew Rauterkus

Matthew Rauterkus

A North Platte man is facing a felony theft charge after he allegedly stole merchandise and switched price tags at a local business.

At around 3 p.m., on Wednesday, officers with the North Platte Police Department responded to the report of a shoplifter at Menards, 4571 South Parkway Drive.

Store staff alleged that the suspect, 27-year-old Matthew Rauterkus, changed a price tag on a large, boxed vehicle canopy to reduce the price from over $400 to around $80.

Officer Rodney Brown said Rauterkus paid for the item, then drove around behind the store to load additional items he had purchased from the Lawn and Garden center at the store.

Brown said Rauterkus then loaded and concealed several other items that he had not purchased.  The items included a surveillance security system and headphones valued at over $500.  Rauterkus allegedly staged these items earlier so he could steal them.

An employee told officers that they had observed a female in the front seat of the van covering the stolen merchandise with a coat as she and Rauterkus drove away.

The van was eventually located at a residence in the 1400 block of William Avenue.

It was there, Brown said, that officers discovered Rauterkus, and, following further investigation, determined there was probable cause to arrest him for felony theft by shoplifting.

A search warrant was obtained for the residence, and resulted in the discovery of the stolen merchandise.

Rauterkus was transported to the Lincoln County Detention Center.

Brown said officers are still investigating to determine what role the female played in the crime.