Two people accused of swiping thousands of dollars worth of graphing calculators from Utah Wal-Marts were arrested when they agreed to meet with the cops who found the stolen goods.
In what court documents describe as an “elaborate theft scheme,” a man and a woman stole the calculators from Wal-Mart stores in Tooele, Harrisville, Ogden and Carson City, Nev. Salt Lake City Detective Veronica Montoya said the couple would go into stores and find something for sale in a large box, such as a car seat. They would then empty out the box, fill it with graphing calculators and check out, paying only the price listed on the box.
Police eventually caught up to the 27-year-old woman and 33-year-old man when they left all of their stolen goods at the Rodeway Inn in Salt Lake City. According to court documents, the manager of the motel called police Aug. 13 to say she found boxes full of calculators in a room where the guests hadn’t checked out on time.
Police confiscated the goods after learning that the guests had been arrested the night before in Ogden for stealing calculators. Court documents say police found at least 108 stolen calculators, each valued at up to $130, in the hotel room. Court documents value the duo’s total haul at $15,000.
Montoya didn’t know what brands or models the couple stole, though the Texas Instruments line of calculators are popular must-have tools for advanced high school and college math students.
Montoya also said the couple appeared to be selling the calculators out of state.
In addition to calculators, the confiscated goods included laptop computers, cellphones, hard drives, cash and a child’s bike helmet, though it’s unclear whether those goods were stolen.
When the couple got out of jail in Ogden, Salt Lake City police called them. Officers told the couple that the stuff they left at the hotel was at a police station and invited them to come down to get the goods.
Montoya said the couple apparently didn’t think officers would connect the confiscated goods with the rash of thefts, so they agreed to meet police.
When the couple arrived at the police station, officers arrested them. Charging documents say police discovered cocaine and methamphetamine in their car.
The couple face an array of felonies and misdemeanors in Salt Lake and Weber counties related to theft and drug possession.