EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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August 6, 2013

Woman charged in crabmeat caper

Suspect in two previous crabmeat thefts

SALEM — A woman who was arrested allegedly trying to steal 21 cans of crabmeat is a suspect in two previous similar thefts last month.

She has other problems, too, including a felony identity fraud charge.

Police were called to Shaw’s Supermarket at 92 Cluff Crossing at 2:30 p.m. Friday for a reported shoplifting suspect in custody.

Store loss prevention workers were holding Marissa Rodriguez, 39, of Lawrence when police arrived.

“She was stuffing cans into her purse,” Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said. “It was a large purse.”

Police suspect Rodriguez in two similar thefts at the store in July, when a total of $470 worth of crabmeat was stolen, he said.

“Unless she really likes crabmeat, this would lead us to believe she’s selling it on the black market, possibly to restaurants,” Patten said.

The case is open and more or upgraded charges may be forthcoming.

“She was not apprehended in July, but store loss prevention was able to identify her,” Patten said.

When police investigated further, they found steaks and clothes stolen from Wal-Mart — valued at $198 — in Rodriguez’s car, he said.

“Wal-Mart was unaware of the thefts until officers brought the merchandise there and they confirmed it was not paid for,” Patten said.

Police also found a Massachusetts EBT card, two bank cards and a “fake” Dominican Republic photo ID — none in Rodriguez’s name. All those items were in the name of Rosanna Guerrero, Patten said. Police believe that was an alias Rodriguez was using.

Police don’t know whether Rodriguez was receiving Massachusetts benefits under another name.

“Obviously, we will cooperate with Massachusetts authorities if they are interested in pursuing this further,” he said.

But, he pointed out, identity fraud is a felony in New Hampshire.

Rodriguez also had an electronic bench warrant from Massachusetts for shoplifting. It’s possible the theft charges could be elevated to felony status, he said. A third theft conviction is a felony, he said, no matter what the value of the items stolen.

“She could be looking at upgraded charges,” Patten said. “The case remains open and active.”

Rodriguez was charged Friday with felony identity fraud, two counts of willful concealment, receiving stolen property and the warrant from Massachusetts.

She was held on $5,000 cash bail pending her arraignment. She was not listed as an inmate at the county jail yesterday.

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