ATHENS TOWNSHIP — A 44-year-old Addison, New York man was sent to the Bradford County Jail on Friday after being charged in connection with a retail theft that took place in early August.

Dana Michael Owlett has been charged with one count of Retail Theft, one count of Criminal Attempt and two counts of Criminal Conspiracy, all third-degree felonies for an incident that took place at the Athens Township Walmart in the early morning hours of Aug. 6.

According to Athens Township Police, two officers were in Walmart on Aug. 6 and observed Heidi N. Benjamin, who they had previously arrested for a retail theft at Walmart.

After taking Benjamin into custody she told police she had keys to a car that was occupied by Owlett. Officers found the suspect laying down in the driver’s seat of the car.

Another female was with Owlett and Benjamin — and none of the three suspects could explain to police why they left from Elmira but decided to drive to Athens Township instead of visiting the Walmart in Horseheads.

Just prior to leaving the scene, police were informed by Walmart employees that they had found “a large amount of merchandise ‘staged’ in the produce section of the store.”

Police were unable to review the security footage that night. On Aug. 12, officers were able to view both video tapes and picture evidence that showed the three individuals “taking possession of and concealing merchandise while inside the store” prior to the officers entering the business.

According to police, the suspects placed more than $1,100 worth of merchandise inside a “large plastic tote” — which was similar to what Benjamin had done in a May 16 incident where she was caught stealing more than $500 worth of merchandise.

Owlett was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Larry Hurley on Friday and sent to county jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 17.

Pat McDonald can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 228 or editor@morning-times.com. Follow Managing Editor Pat McDonald on Twitter @PatMcDonaldMT.

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