Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Videos released in case of fired Tampa police Sgt. LaJoyce Houston

TAMPA — The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office released a series of surveillance videos Monday in its case against former Tampa police Sgt. LaJoyce Houston, who is accused of welfare fraud.

The videos were recorded at a Walmart store in Gibsonton and at multiple Publix locations in the weeks before Houston was arrested and subsequently fired from the police department. Prosecutors allege that Houston conspired with Rita Girven, a police informant and Hillsborough jail inmate, to use Girven's food stamps to buy $365 worth of groceries.

In the Walmart video, taken Sept. 10, LaJoyce Houston is seen standing in a checkout line using a card to pay for Bounty paper towels, a case of Zephyrhills bottled water, and a watermelon, among other items. The card LaJoyce Houston used is an electronic benefits transfer card containing Girven's food stamps, according to prosecutors.

Her husband, Eric Houston, a former Tampa police detective, is seen beside her bagging the groceries. The two later push a pair of shopping carts through the store's exit.

LaJoyce Houston was arrested Oct. 10 on charges of food stamp fraud and grand theft. She was fired from the Tampa Police Department the same day. Girven, who is the biological mother of a girl Houston adopted years ago, is a co-defendant in the case.

Eric Houston was not charged in his wife's case, but he was fired in April amid news that a federal grand jury was investigating his alleged involvement in a tax fraud case.

Videos released in case of fired Tampa police Sgt. LaJoyce Houston 06/10/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 5:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018


    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    And Ramos is giving the Rays a pretty good glimpse of what that can be like.

    In Friday's 8-3 win over the Orioles, he hit a grand slam - …

  2. Buccaneers-Vikings Scouting Report: Watching Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen


    No matter how much film we study, no matter how much data we parse, we just don't know how an NFL season will unfold.

  3. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Sue Carlton: Job or family when a hurricane's coming — a very Florida conundrum


    It must seem as foreign to Northerners as shoveling snow is to those of us raised in the Sunshine State: The very-Florida conundrum of having to choose between work and family — between paycheck and personal safety — when a hurricane comes.

    A hurricane helps the rest of us acknowledge the police officers, paramedics, hospital personnel, public works employees and others who stay on the job despite the storm. 
  5. After Tampa concert, Arcade Fire members party, preach politics at Crowbar


    After waiting more than a decade for Arcade Fire’s first appearance in Tampa, fans didn’t have to wait long for their second.

    DJ Windows 98, a.k.a. singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire, performed at a "Disco Town Hall" at Crowbar following the band's concert at the USF Sun Dome on Sept. 22, 2017.