2 Suspected shoplifters arrested at Gilbert Kohl's

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Andrew Pritchert and Julie Couts By Jennifer Thomas Andrew Pritchert and Julie Couts By Jennifer Thomas

GILBERT, Ariz. -- Gilbert police found drug paraphernalia in a car used by two suspected shoplifters Monday evening.

Andrew Pritchert, 27, and Julie Couts, 37, were arrested about 6:30 p.m. Monday after they were seen allegedly removing tags and concealing items in a Kohl's department store.

When officers confronted Pritchert in the store near Baseline and Cooper roads, he appeared to have a possible weapon in his pants pocket, according to police spokesman Sgt. Bill Balafas.

Pritchert refused to cooperate with officers' commands and tried to reach into his pocket. A brief struggle ensued before he was taken into custody.

Police found a .380 handgun in his pocket.

Balafas said officers found Couts waiting in Pritchert's vehicle along with drug paraphernalia and possible stolen property. She was arrested for shoplifting.

Pritchert was booked on charges of weapons misconduct (prohibited possessor), shoplifting, drug paraphernalia, obstructing governmental operations and failure to obey.

Police discovered that Pritchert falsely used another man's name and date of birth to conceal his identity during arrest. Additional charges for forgery and identity theft are pending as a result of this discovery.

An investigation into possession of stolen credit cards and IDs is ongoing.