WEST VALLEY CITY — Police say a Salt Lake woman was shoplifting up to $5,000 worth of goods out of Costco with each visit to support her drug habit.
Andria Lecor Welte, 40, was arrested Wednesday and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity, money laundering, three counts of felony shoplifting, drug possession, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
On Sunday, Welte entered the Costco in West Valley City, 3747 S. 2700 West, and was observed “selecting over $5,000 worth of merchandise and leaving the store” without paying, according to a police affidavit.
She is also believed to have shoplifted $4,000 worth of merchandise out of the same store on Jan. 4, the affidavit states.
As the investigation continued, it was determined that Welte was also responsible for similar robberies at the Costco in Salt Lake City in December, the Murray Costco last week, and the Sandy Costco on Wednesday, according to the affidavit.
Wednesday night, store employees spotted Welte at the West Valley Costco, where she allegedly selected about $4,300 worth of merchandise before being confronted by store security, the affidavit states.
Just as she tried to leave the store, West Valley police pulled up and arrested her. She was carrying meth, marijuana and drug paraphernalia at the time, according to the affidavit. She told police she had received the meth in exchange for some of the items she had stolen earlier.
Welte then took police to the hotel in West Valley City where she and her husband were staying.
“A search of the room revealed drug paraphernalia and several items (identified) as stolen by Costco loss prevention,” the affidavit states.
West Valley police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku said about $3,500 worth of stolen Costco merchandise was recovered from the hotel room.
Welte is believed to have stolen more than $20,000 worth of goods from all of her Costco robberies, according to the affidavit. She told police she would exchange the items for drugs.
At the time of her arrest, Welte had six outstanding warrants for theft, the affidavit states.
Her extensive criminal history includes recent charges of retail theft in November, September, August and again in December 2019, according to court records.