A Plymouth man was apparently ready to commit murder over a vacuum cleaner and video monitors he was trying to steal from Walmart, according to police.

A Walmart loss prevention employee called local police shortly after 7:30 p.m. Tuesday to report being threatened at knifepoint by Clifford Teague, 55, of Plymouth. The worker had attempted to stop Teague from leaving the Colony Place store with a shopping cart filled with a Shark vacuum cleaner and Samsung gaming monitors that he hadn’t purchased, police said. The items totaled $359.

After being confronted, Teague – who was wearing a Covid face mask as a disguise – told the employee, “You don’t want none of this.” When the worker said he only wanted the items returned, Teague’s demeanor became more threatening.

“I will stab and kill you,” he allegedly said. “Don’t you see what I have in my hand?”

The employee said that’s when he looked down and saw Teague was wielding a small foldable knife. Teague fled with the carriage, tossed the stolen goods into a waiting car, and sped away from the Walmart parking lot. The worker, who was able to get the license plate number, called 911.

Plymouth Police officer Andrew Whelan spotted the car on Summer Street and pulled it over. He arrested Teague and his wife, Barbara Teague, 55, who was driving.

“As officer Whelan ordered Clifford Teague out of the car, Mr. Teague started yelling, ‘It was me, I did it!’” said Plymouth Police spokesman Jason Higgins.

The merchandise and the knife were inside the car, police said. But that wasn’t all they found. The Teagues were driving around with undisclosed amounts of cocaine, oxycodone, and gabapentin – all controlled drugs.

They had affixed a phony license plate to the back of their car, police said, but made a crucial mistake – the front plate was still visible, making them easy to track down. The vehicle was also missing an inspection sticker.

Both suspects were charged with armed robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon, shoplifting over $250, and making threats.

In addition, Barbara Teague was charged with drug possession, concealing a license plate, and failure to have an inspection sticker. She was released on $260 bail, but her husband spent the night in the custody of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department, held on $5,000 bail.

They were both arraigned in Plymouth District Court on Wednesday morning. Clifford Teague was ordered held pending a dangerousness hearing. Barbara Teague was released. She was ordered to stay away from Walmart and the victim, as well as to abstain from using alcohol or drugs.   

Higgins lauded the quick reaction of the Walmart employee whose life was threatened.

“We are always impressed with the diligence of Walmart loss prevention,” he said, “and are impressed with their safe response to this incident.”

He also praised the “excellent communication” between the officers who responded to the incident. Besides Andrew Whelan, they included Thomas Molloy and Luke Whalen. 

As for the Teagues, Higgins added, “We also hope that this couple finds some better hobbies in the future.”

Mark Pothier can be reached at mark@plymouthindependent.org.

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