Police arrest ‘victim’ for staged liquor store robbery in Mississippi city

Published 10:30 am Sunday, February 5, 2023

A staged liquor store robbery did not fool investigators with the Columbus Police Department, and the “victim” has been arrested and charged with two crimes.

Jaimin Laljibhai Patel, 24, of Columbus, was charged Friday with conspiracy to commit a crime of robbery for his part in allegedly planning, carrying out, and reporting an armed robbery at the Columbus Liquor World. He is also being charged with false reporting of a crime. The store is located at 1928 Highway 45 North.

Patel reported he was robbed while working inside the store.

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Columbus Police were called to the store just before 8 p.m. on Sunday, January 22, 2023. Patel said an armed robber entered the back of the store while empty boxes were being taken outside to a trash container. Police searched the area and found no one matching the suspect’s description.

“Our investigators did a great job to track down the leads in this case and conduct an arrest,” Police Chief Joseph Daughtry said. “A staged robbery takes planning, putting many people at risk when the call goes out. Innocent civilians, employees, and police officers have been injured in similar instances. We respond to all armed robbery calls as ‘real’ and take a staged call like this quite seriously.”

Chief Daughtry said the case is still under investigation.

“There was more than one person involved in this incident, and our investigation continues,” Chief Daughtry added. “We believe we have a strong motive for the staged incident that involves an application for a ‘U Visa’ issued by the federal government for victims of crime.”

No one was hurt in the incident, according to police.