Shelby Co. sheriff's ALERT squad investigates veiled threat at East Memphis boutique - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported By Andy Wise

Shelby Co. sheriff's ALERT squad investigates veiled threat at East Memphis boutique

An unidentified man manages to weave his body language, a ski mask and the Ten Commandments into one bizarre encounter at an East Memphis boutique.

Detectives with the Shelby County Sheriff's ALERT Squad (Area Law Enforcement & Retailers Team) are seeking help in identifying the man in the surveillance video you can watch to the right.

The video shows him walking along the sidewalk outside the boutique, staring into the store.  He suddenly stops, wheels and enters the store. 

He abruptly ducks, like he's hiding from something or somebody. 

Another camera angle shows him popping up at the register.  Detectives say he talks to one of the store's employees, imploring her to play weight-guessing games with him as he ducks and jerks around the counter.

He asks the employee to show him some jewelry as a gift for a "first date."

Then he asks if he can show her something.

"He immediately pulled out a bookmark and placed it on the countertop," says ALERT Det. Dee Bowling.

Printed on the bookmark:  the Ten Commandments. 

Bowling says the man asks the employee to read the sixth one.

"Which was 'Thou Shall Not Kill,'" says Bowling.

Bowling says the man then pulls a ski mask out of his coat.

"(He) shows it to the employee and says to the employee, 'This is what I wear when I do bad things,'" Bowling says.

The video shows the clerk calmly walking around the register to hand the bookmark back to the man.  The man turns, heads for the exit, mutters something and leaves.

Bowling emphasizes the man did not commit a crime.  But his behavior was so startling, the store employee asks that neither she nor the store be identified.

"We are concerned about that behavior, and we are concerned about the safety of the other businesses in the area," he says.

If you can identify the man in the video, please e-mail Action News 5's Chief Consumer Investigator Andy Wise at  You can also call the ALERT squad's hotline at 901-756-LOSS.

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