SALT LAKE CITY — Police arrested a woman Wednesday they say stole over $20,000 in merchandise from Salt Lake City-area Costco locations since December.
Andria Welte, 40, was arrested on multiple charges, including retail theft, money laundering, and possession of a controlled substance.
According to police, Welte was caught on security cameras Jan. 10 entering the Costco store at 3747 South 2700 West in West Valley City. The cameras show Welte taking over $5,000 of items and leaving the story without paying.
Police say Welte had been to the same store on Jan. 4 and stolen $4,000 in merchandise.
Loss prevention employees with Costco were able to identify Welte as the same person who had also shoplifted from locations in Salt Lake City, Murray and Sandy in December and January.
On Jan. 13, Welte returned to the West Valley City store and attempted to steal $4,300 worth of merchandise before she was confronted by employees. Police arrested Welte outside the store and found she was carrying marijuana, meth and drug paraphernalia.
Police searched the hotel room where Welte and her husband were staying and found several of the items that had been stolen. However, only $1,000 of the $15,000 in merchandise stolen from the Costcos was recovered.
Welte told police she had shoplifted over $20,000 in items which she had exchanged for drugs.