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Purse helps Lodi police identify shoplifting suspect

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Posted: Monday, May 18, 2009 10:00 pm

Notice to would-be shoplifters: When fleeing from Safeway store employees with a cart full of $457 worth of goods, don't leave your purse and identification behind.

That, according to Lodi police, is what led them to arrest a 28-year-old woman on theft charges Sunday night.

Christina Hietbrink, a local bartender, was subsequently arraigned in court Monday on several charges.

Officers were called at 9:53 p.m. to the 2449 W. Kettleman Lane store, where employees said two women had tried to make off with a cartload of groceries and other items.

Employees had seen the women shopping and thought they were suspicious, so they gave chase when the women headed for the door rather than the check-out, according to a police report.

The shopping cart's wheels locked when it reached the limits of the parking lot, a measure used to keep people from wheeling carts home with them. Employees tried to grab the cart as Hietbrink and the other woman began tossing items into a white Ford Explorer, according to police.

Then Hietbrink got behind the wheel of the car, the other woman also jumped in, and they sped away with one rear door still open, according to Officer Hans Van Noord's report.

Employees found a black purse still sitting in the cart and called police.

Van Noord looked through the purse, found Hietbrink's driver's license inside, and dispatchers cross-referenced it with a Ford Explorer as well as her Zinfandel Drive home.

Van Noord headed to the home but saw a vehicle matching that description on Lakeshore Drive. The vehicle's registration tags were expired, so he pulled it over.

Hietbrink was in the driver's seat, but the other woman was gone, police said. Instead, a man was in the vehicle. He told police he had no idea what was going on, and Safeway employees hadn't described seeing a man, so he was released at the scene.

Hietbrink was arrested after a store employee identified her.

Inside the vehicle, police found some Tide laundry detergent, a bottle of Clorox bleach and a container of Pennzoil motor oil, still resting where store employees had seen items tossed into the vehicle. They totaled $23.02.

Store employees totaled the groceries left behind in the parking lot at $434.13.

The vehicle was impounded, since Hietbrink was driving on a suspended license, police said.

Prosecutors on Monday charged her with a felony count of attempted grand theft, along with misdemeanors of petty theft and driving on a suspended license, according to San Joaquin County court records.

As for the other woman, Hietbrink allegedly told police she didn't know her last name or where she lived.

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 8:37 pm on Tue, May 19, 2009.


    Ok off the subject- Whats up w/our whole shopping cart system anyways? Its somebodys job to go and pick up shopping carts and bring them back to its store, we might as well go ahead and make it customary- just call when youre done using it, give them the address to come and get it and viola! Weve not only have a new customer friendly service but have created jobs as well...and I now that I think about it, thats pretty messed up that here we just gave them all kinds of money and we cant even get help home w/ our groceries? (Except for Rancho of course, whose complimentary shuttle service takes you AND your groceries home)

  • posted at 2:10 pm on Tue, May 19, 2009.


    Is anyone wondering what I'm wondering? "what bar does this loser work at?"

  • posted at 9:51 am on Tue, May 19, 2009.



  • posted at 5:42 am on Tue, May 19, 2009.


    Yup you got one on the west side, that will really help offset the eastside calls. LOL

  • posted at 5:42 am on Tue, May 19, 2009.


    I have to agree with Mad Dog on this one......

  • posted at 5:38 am on Tue, May 19, 2009.


    A pair of mental midgets, evidently they didn`t realize the shopping cart would lock if it were to be taken out of the parking lot. And to add insult to stupidness, to leave your purse in the cart, Book `em Dano

  • posted at 3:27 am on Tue, May 19, 2009.



  • posted at 2:33 am on Tue, May 19, 2009.


    I just spit out my coffee, LOL!

  • posted at 2:22 am on Tue, May 19, 2009.


    What? No comments about lowlifes from the East Side? Oh that's right! The streets mentioned in the article are on the WEST side of town. LOL!

  • posted at 1:34 am on Tue, May 19, 2009.


    What makes people steal groceries? Sure - they had Motor oil and stuff to wash clothes. But $434?? They were tired of being hungry I guess.

  • posted at 11:18 pm on Mon, May 18, 2009.


    stupid is right!!

  • posted at 9:38 pm on Mon, May 18, 2009.


    Stupid criminals will never learn. Why shoplift motor oil when there is a store full of beer and donuts?



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