Originally Published: August 21, 2017 6:01 a.m.
A former Mohave County Sheriff candidate has been summoned to appear in court following a shoplifting incident reported late last month, police say.
Cori Merryman is accused of stealing a pair of shoes valued to be worth about $25 from the Kmart store in Lake Havasu City on the morning of July 28. Merryman ran for the position of Mohave County Sheriff last fall and is a former law enforcement officer with the Mohave County Sheriffs Office.
Merryman suggested the allegations were being made by adversaries from her campaign for sheriff last year. “I can tell you I have not been charged, arrested nor cited for any offense,” she said. “Once in politics, it seems like if you fart, an atom bomb has gone off. Lots of twisting and exaggeration.”
Police were called to the store shortly after the alleged incident occurred, but could not immediately contact Merryman who ran from the store toward a nearby grocery store, according to statements by store employees, according to police.
Store employees told police that before she ran off, they saw her take off a pair of shoes she was wearing and swap them for the new pair. An employee also said Merryman was recognized by staff as a woman who “frequently” switches old shoes for new ones, according to a police report. Merryman was later approached by an employee who asked for the shoes back, but Merryman allegedly continued to exit the store while stating she did nothing wrong, the police report stated.
During a phone call with a Havasu Police officer, Merryman denied taking anything from the store and ran because she became frightened for her safety when an employee “chased” her out and told Merryman she had a weapon. Merryman also told police she recognized one of the people at the scene from her campaign, the police report stated.
When police tried to speak with Merryman at her Havasu residence, her husband Ed McInerney told the officer Merryman was not available to speak with them. McInerney later posted a video he had recorded of the conversation to Mohave County Wikileaks, a Facebook group page he manages.
“A lot of (expletive) happens in this damn county and, uh, we don’t trust you. We don’t trust the Sheriff’s Office. We don’t trust anyone,” McInerney is heard telling the police officer on the video shortly before the officer left.
McInerney continued to suggest via Facebook that the incident was fueled by political motives stemming from the election during which Merryman was at times targeted aggressively by her opposition, he has said. In another post made to the same page, McInerney shamed the Havasu Police Department for how it handled the shoplifting incident.
“You guys knew what happened during my wife’s campaign, and that’s why I said I don’t trust you guys!” McInerney wrote. “You knew the poor treatment she got! I have a pen recording of your officer during the campaign on Acoma (Boulevard) and Industrial (Boulevard) telling me that you guys been told not to talk to me .... Hmmm!!!! I hate Politics!”
Lake Havasu City Police Sgt. Tom Gray said the investigation of the incident continues and there have been no arrests or citations issued.
“I expect this to turn into a storm,” Gray said during a phone conversation. He added the police department is handling the investigation no differently regardless of Merryman’s background.
A complaint charging Merryman with misdemeanor shoplifting was filed Aug. 8. An Aug. 10 summons was issued directing Merryman to make an initial appearance in municipal court on Aug. 28.