By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A Thriftee Food & Drug asset protection employee followed a suspected shoplifter back to a motel, where she was later then arrested and booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on an active warrant out of Greenlee County.
Darla Renee Mason, 23, of Safford, was suspected to have taken a bag of potato chips from the store without paying for it. On Tuesday, Oct. 15, Safford Police received a phone call at about 2:46 p.m. advising that a Thriftee employee followed Mason back to the Economy Inn at 225 E. U.S. Highway 70 after she was seen concealing a bag of potato chips.
The officer arrived at the motel and knocked on the door of the room Mason entered. A man wrapped in a bath towel answered and said he had been in the shower and was alone in the room. The man declined to allow the officer to search the room for the shoplifting suspect, but after the officer prodded that he knew a woman was in there and that he needed to speak to her the man went back into the bathroom and Mason came out also wrapped in a bath towel.
Mason allegedly admitted to taking the bag of potato chips and said she did so because she didn’t have enough money to pay for it.
A records check showed Mason had a felony warrant for failure to appear in court in Duncan for possession of marijuana. After getting dressed, Mason was then transported to the jail and booked in on her warrant. While there, she was also given a citation for shoplifting.
On Oct. 17, the Duncan town prosecutor dismissed the marijuana case without prejudice and a $500 bond that was set back in July should she be apprehended was voided.