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3 Charged with Using Wheelchair in Fairfield Theft

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A trio of Bridgeport women were charged with shoplifting at a Fairfield supermarket Monday afternoon.

The three openly ate and drank merchandise while inside the store and attempted to walk out with items concealed in a wheelchair, police said.

The manager of the Stop & Shop on Villa Avenue called police to report three elderly Hispanic women were found attempting to walk out without paying for merchandise, police said. According to the police report, employees witnessed the three eating snacks and drinking beverages while in the store’s aisles.

The three also were seen placing other items into purses, under clothing and in a compartment on one woman’s wheelchair, police said. The three paid for a few items at the self-checkout counter, but did not pay for approximately $135 worth of food, police said.

Wanda Cruz, 64, Melva Rivera, 57, and Crucita Pabon Velazquez, 61, all of Bridgeport, each were charged with sixth-degree larceny and conspiracy Monday. They were all released on a promise to appear in court March 16.

Also from the police blotter:

Robert Barker, 69, of East Haven was charged with stealing cash from the register of a Fairfield car service center Monday. Barker is accused of stealing $668 from Meineke Discount Muffler in two incidents last December.

The business manager called police Dec. 9 after finding the service center’s cash register had been pried open and burglarized the night before, police said. Because there were no signs of forced entry into the building itself, investigators believe the suspect was an employee with a key.

Video surveillance showed the crime in action, and Barker was identified as the suspect, police said. Video footage also showed a similar crime taking place Dec. 3, police said. Barker promised to make restitution to the business but has not done so, according to police reports.

Barker was arrested on a warrant Tuesday morning. He was charged with two counts of third-degree burglary and one count of fifth-degree larceny. His bond was set at $5,000, and he is due in court March 15.

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