Deputies say man enlisted boy's help in shoplifting scheme


At about 8pm Friday, August 2, Esco Bickham was stopped by loss prevention officers at the Walmart in the 5600 block of State Highway 99 in Fort Bend County. They claimed he was carrying a water bottle out of the store without paying for it.

Fort Bend County Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene. Bickham reportedly told the deputy his son was in his car. The deputy found the 12-year-old hiding in the back seat of the vehicle, without the motor running. When the deputy brought the boy in, a security guard recognized him from a surveillance camera, when he was reportedly leaving the store with a vacuum cleaner.

Authorities say Bickham claimed he was returning the vacuum to the store, but deputies say they found two vacuum cleaners in his car. He produced a sales slip, but when the serial numbers didn't match, authorities say Bickham admitted stealing the vacuum and having the boy take it out of the store.

Deputies say they also found a magnetic device on Bickham which is used to deactivate and remove anti-theft devices.

Bickham has been charged with theft, exploitation of a child, unlawful use of a criminal instrumnet and possession of a controlled substance. His bond has been set at $17,500. He remains in jail.

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