Perry man accused of making meth in Mentor Walmart

A Perry man is accused of attempting to make methamphetamine inside the Mentor Walmart.

James Richardson, 37, was arrested Sunday evening after he allegedly walked around the store, collecting ingredients that are used to make the drug.

Richardson was watched by Walmart security as he took a cart through the store, picked up drain cleaner, camp fuel and stain remover and then began to mix the chemicals in a salt shaker from the home department, according to police.

While walking around the store, Richardson continued to mix the chemicals, then set the salt shaker down on a shelf and headed to the front door, still bringing the cart and items with him.

Mentor Police Lt. Ken Zbiegien said at that time, Richardson stopped at the Subway restaurant located within Walmart to buy a drink. By the time he attempted to exit the store, Mentor police were on scene and arrested him.

Richardson is charged with illegal manufacturing of drugs, a second-degree felony; illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacturing of drugs, a third-degree felony; and petty theft, a first-degree misdemeanor, according to court records.

Zbiegien said Richardson has a record.

"He has five prior convictions for felony drug possession and he also has a prior conviction for illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacturing of methamphetamine," he said. "He had the clear-cut image of a methamphetamine addict, sores all over the face and everything."

Lake County Narcotics Agency and Mentor Fire Department also responded to Walmart Sunday evening to ensure the cleanup of chemicals was handled properly.

When Richardson was asked why he did what he did, he came up with excuses, Zbiegien said.

"He tried to cover his tracks and make up a story," Zbiegien said. "He advised that a drain at home was clogged and it needed to be fixed, he said the reason he poured some of it into the salt shaker was to see what it looked like before he bought it."

Zbiegien also said Richardson was "jittery" during conversations with officers that night.

Richardson was arraigned Monday in Mentor Municipal Court.

Judge John Trebets set his bond at $75,000 cash or surety, which was not posted.

Richardson's preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 25.

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