A Lynn, Mass. woman was arrested in connection with a bizarre scheme which involved a soda can deposit machine and a stolen EBT card.
Police observed the woman purchasing a large quantity of soda and then bringing it directly to the automated redemption machine.
According to local news outlet ItemLive, police arrested a 36-year-old woman at a Lynn Stop & Shop on Saturday after she allegedly stole $64 worth of soda.
Police said Officer Craig Fountain was reviewing the store's loss prevention video while on detail at the Stop & Shop. While viewing the footage, Officer Fountain observed a woman purchase 18 12-packs of soda and pay with a state-issued EBT card. After making the purchase she went to redeem the cans for cash.
“At that point she started ripping open the cases of soda she purchased and started putting the full cans right into the machine, which caused severe damage to the machine,” said Lynn Police Lt. Chris Kelly, reported CBS News.
Massachusetts is one of 10 states that require a deposit to be paid on individual beverage containers; consumers can get this money returned to them by redeeming empty bottles and cans in return for their 5 or 10 cents back (amount varies depending on the state). Stores generally require the containers to be cleaned prior to return.
When officers approached the woman, she gave her name as being the one listed on the EBT card, then gave officers another false name. Reportedly she also gave two false social security numbers. Eventually the woman was identified at police headquarters after the officers took her into custody. Officers were able to determine the EBT card was a stolen one.
Tina Cafarelli, of Lynn, was charged with larceny under $250 by false pretense, destruction of property over $250, obstruction of justice and receiving stolen property.
She is currently being held at the Essex County House of Correction in lieu of $250 bail. Cafarelli is scheduled to appear back in court on Feb. 14.
Police say the theft ultimately would have netted her just $10 in cash.