Crime

Pierce County couple pleads not guilty to stealing $66,000 in hygiene products from Safeway stores

A Pierce County couple allegedly stole more than $66,000 in hygiene products from Safeway stores this year and sold them to an undercover investigator.

Prosecutors charged Whitney Dale-Benson, 29, and Christopher Gannon, 25, with 20 counts of first-degree trafficking in stolen property. More charges are expected after detectives review surveillance footage from several more stores.

The couple pleaded not guilty Wednesday. Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Dale-Benson jailed in lieu of $75,000 bail and Gannon held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

A private investigator for Safeway began looking into the thefts in January after noticing several items stolen from Safeway stores were being sold on Craigslist. He contacted Gannon and arranged to buy items ranging from Rogaine to razors to Crest whitening strips, according to charging papers.

Gannon and Dale-Benson allegedly did not hide the fact the items were stolen and even asked the investigator for a $1,000 loan in March to repair their car because they feared it would be too risky to steal without a getaway car.

When the investigator refused , Gannon allegedly threatened to expose the investigator, who was masquerading as a buyer.

Investigators used hidden cameras to record transactions with Gannon and Dale-Benson.

They were arrested Aug. 28 when they showed up to sell the investigator stolen products, according to the charging papers.

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