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Woman arrested in retail thefts.

Byline: Jack Moran The Register-Guard

A Eugene woman faces felony theft and drug charges for allegedly stealing more than $30,000 in merchandise from local Safeway and Albertsons supermarkets earlier this year.

Police worked with the stores' own investigators to build a case against Jessica Lynn Kennedy, who was arraigned Tuesday in Lane County Circuit Court.

Kennedy, 29, allegedly ran a scheme that involved stealing items from at least four supermarkets in Eugene and Springfield and then posting for-sale advertisements for the merchandise on a shopping website.

She told police she sold the swiped items to pay for her heroin addiction, Eugene police Detective Chris White wrote in a probable cause affidavit filed in court in support of criminal charges.

A spokeswoman for the supermarkets said Kennedy mainly stole health and beauty products.

The case began to come together in April when a private investigator hired by Safeway and Albertsons - which merged in 2015 - contacted Kennedy and offered to buy "as much product as she could provide," White wrote.

During his first meeting with Kennedy, the investigator paid her $545 for merchandise that carried a retail value of $2,307, according to the affidavit.

The investigator subsequently met with Kennedy six more times between April 15 and May 26. In each instance, he purchased items from the Eugene woman at prices well below their retail value, according to the affidavit.

Kennedy and the investigator were set to meet again on June 2. Instead, police obtained a search warrant and served it at Kennedy's home in the 200 block of North Adams Street.

White wrote that officers found inside Kennedy's residence three large bags filled with pilfered merchandise.

Kennedy confessed to stealing the items from Safeway super markets on Coburg Road and East 18th Avenue, and Albertsons stores on Mohawk Boulevard and Main Street in Springfield, according to the affidavit.

Kennedy also admitted that she planned to sell the bagged merchandise to the private investigator who had been posing as her customer for nearly two months, White wrote.

In total, the investigator paid Kennedy $6,950 for goods that officials valued at $31,878, according to the affidavit.

Jill McGinnis, a spokeswoman for the supermarkets, said Tuesday the stores have long investigated large-scale merchandise thefts.

The private investigator who had a series of meetings with Kennedy is a retired police officer with "significant experience working undercover," White wrote in the affidavit.

Video surveillance captured Kennedy taking items from the stores, according to the affidavit.

Kennedy is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree theft along with single counts of first-degree theft, heroin possession and methamphetamine possession.

White noted in the affidavit that Kennedy is on probation for a theft conviction, and she had been convicted in Washington state of second- degree burglary.

Follow Jack on Twitter @JackMoranRG. Email jack.moran@registerguard.com.

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Title Annotation:Crime; She tells police she sold the stolen items online to pay for her heroin addiction
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 28, 2017
Words:471
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