After four police chases and a foot chase, a serial shoplifter accused of targeting 14 stores across Wake County is now behind bars.
Michael Quarles, 40, faces 38 charges after a two-month crime spree.
Court documents show Quarles shoplifted 26 times from 14 stores in Cary, Garner, Knightdale and Raleigh between April 20 and June 21. Quarles is accused of stealing over $11,000 worth of merchandise.
On June 24, North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers arrested Quarles after a chase through downtown Raleigh that ended on S. Saunders Street near Interstate 40. A spokesperson said the soldier, who suffered minor injuries, deployed his taser to take the suspect into custody.
Authorities said Quarles used the alias Michael Leon Edwards, so law enforcement knew him by two different names. Quarles is also accused of stealing a car in late April in Johnston County and using at least two different cars and temporary paper tags to avoid detection.
Quarles shoplifted from the ACE Hardware store at 802 Semart Dr. in Raleigh three times in May.
“This guy was a threat,” said Greg Cox, general manager of ACE Hardware.
Surveillance footage shows Quarles removing power tools from the wall inside the store. ACE hardware in Raleigh.
“He would change his hat and change his appearance,” Cox said. “He was coming and going so fast it was hard to even notice he was there until he was already about to come out.”
Chronology of events
Court documents show the timeline of the items Quarles is accused of stealing, their value, and where the crime took place:
April 20: Target, Knightdale, 40-inch TV, clothing, $342
April 23: Target, Knightdale, 40-inch TV, $460
May 3: Sheetz, Garner, Beer, $27
May 5: Home Depot, Garner, Tools, $817
Ace Hardware, Cary, circular saw and drills, $300
May 18: Ace Hardware, Raleigh, Brushcutter/hedge trimmer, $790
May 20: Best buy, Cary
Ace Hardware, Raleigh, Tools, $250
May 28: BJ’s Warehouse, Garner, TV and sound system, $560
Kohl’s, Garner, Clothing/Shoes/Fragrance, $342
May 31st : Harbor Freight, Cary
Home Depot, Garner, window air conditioning unit and tools, $920
Ace Hardware, Raleigh, Electric Saw, $420
June 4: Harbor Freight, Cary
June 6: Home Depot, Garner
June 10: Sheetz, Cary, Beer
Home Depot, Garner, Tools
June 12: Harbor Freight, Garner, Generator, $630
June 14: Harbor Freight, Garner, $630
Sam’s Club, Raleigh, (two) 43-inch TVs, $600
June 15: Home Depot, Garner, drill and AC unit, $650
Quarles engaged in a chase with Garner police: Flee/Elude Arrest
June 17: Harbor Freight, Garner, Generator, $500
RESCO Mart (two locations), Garner, Cigarettes/Lotto tickets, $130
June 19: Best buy, Cary, computer, $2,300
June 20: Cary PD Shoplifting, $54
Best Buy, Garner
June 21st: Target, Raleigh, (three) 40-inch TVs, $900
Garner police say they first tried to arrest Quarles on June 15, but he fled. On June 17, he failed to stop when a Wake County ABC Law Enforcement officer attempted to arrest him for outstanding warrants. On June 23, Garner police said they saw him speeding 100 miles an hour and driving the wrong way on Highway 70 near Vandora Springs Road. The next day, June 24, Highway Patrol pulled him over south of downtown Raleigh.
Suspected shoplifter arrested
Cox says it’s a relief to know that authorities have caught and arrested Quarles.
“He wasn’t going for the little things,” Cox said. “He was aiming for a lot of money.”
Quarles has a criminal history that shows theft cases dating back to 2006. He was released in October 2021 after serving a one-year, five-month sentence related to a series of felony theft cases in 2020. In 2009, he served five months in prison after racking up 12 charges for breaking into cars and stealing credit cards.