Call it the case of giant-sized bottles of laundry detergent allegedly stolen from a Giant Food Store.
According to court records:
Victor Manuel Cintron-Nieves, who turned 28 on Thursday, wheeled a shopping cart out of the Bethlehem Township store at 2918 Easton Ave. Saturday afternoon without paying for the cart’s contents -- 10 giant-sized bottles of Tide, each containing 150 ounces. The detergent is valued at $179.90 ($17.99 per bottle).
A few blocks south in the area of Keystone Street and Ritter Avenue, township Patrolman Troy Abelovsky spotted Cintron-Nieves pulling the shopping cart with a “Giant Foods” emblem and filled with big bottles of Tide. That’s when the case unfolded.
Abelovsky told Cintron-Nieves it was a crime to remove a shopping cart from Giant property without permission. He asked Cintron-Nieves to produce a receipt. Cinton-Nieves said he threw it away.
Abelovsky asked another township officer to check the Giant to see if there had been a theft of laundry detergent. An assistant manager confirmed a large quantity of laundry detergent was missing from a store display. And all of the cashiers said no one had purchased a large quantity that day.
The other officer also saw security footage that showed Cintron-Nieves walking out of the store with a cart filled with laundry detergent.
After Cintron-Nieves was taken into custody, police found three pills of Suboxone, which can be used to treat opioid dependence, inside a small blue fanny pack the suspect had in the shopping cart.
Cintron-Nieves, of 716 E. Fifth St. on Bethlehem’s SouthSide, was charged with retail theft, possession of a controlled substance and illegal use of shopping carts. He was arraigned by on-duty District Judge Robert Hawke of Lehigh Township and committed to Northampton County Prison after failing to post $20,000 bail.