MUHLENBERG — A Birdsboro woman is in jail on charges she stole more than $5,770 worth of baby formula from Walmart.
The alleged thefts occurred in 11 visits to the store over three weeks.
Cayla Marie Ditscher, 22, was charged with retail theft and conspiracy to take merchandise after a loss-prevention officer at a Muhlenberg Township Walmart stopped her with bags of baby formula on Feb. 22.
Ramon Figueroa, the loss-prevention officer at Walmart told police he stopped Ditscher as she was leaving the store after she walked past all of the open checkout lanes. He said she dropped the bags, ran from the store and got into a brown Saturn when he approached her.
Then, while viewing surveillance footage of the store, Figueroa saw Ditscher, along with a man later identified as her brother Cameron Ditscher, go into the store 11 times between Jan. 31 and Feb. 22 and fill plastic shopping baskets with formula. They would then walk to the home goods section to transfer the formula from the baskets to the bags and walk out past the checkout area trying to be unnoticed.
The brother-sister team did the same thing each time they went into the store for formula, according to police.
During their trips, the two allegedly stole anywhere between $245 and $703 of formula.
On March 4, police contacted Justin Weidner, of Birdsboro, who told them he was with the siblings on Feb. 22.
According to Weidner, he drove Cayla and Cameron to Walmart and waited in the car while they went inside. He told police that Cayla came running from the store and told him to “go, go, go!”
Weidner told police he was scared so he drove off. Soon after, he parked in the McDonald’s parking lot, and Cayla called her brother.
He said Cameron Ditscher walked from the Walmart holding a plastic bag. Then Weidner told police he drove them to a small grocery store on Schuylkill Avenue in Reading where the siblings went into the store.
When they came out, Weidner said they no longer had the plastic bag and Cameron got into a black Honda Civic. After less than a minute, he rejoined his sister and Weidner in the brown Saturn, he told police.
Weidner told police he dropped the siblings at a house in the 600 block of West First street in Birdsboro and then went to visit his girlfriend.
For police, getting in touch with Cayla Ditscher was difficult.
Muhlenberg police called Cayla Ditscher, but the woman who picked up identified herself as Ben, then hung up when the officer stated why he was calling.
On the second attempt, the woman told the officer she was Cayla Ditscher. When he asked her to come to the station, Ditscher said she would come in the next 48 hours. Police said she never showed up.
After execution of an arrest warrant on May 7, Cayla Ditscher was arraigned and confined to the Berks County Prison after she was unable to post the $30,000 monetary bail set by District Judge Thomas H. Xavios.
Her next hearing is on May 30 at 1:30 p.m. in front of District Judge Dean R. Patton.
Cameron Ditscher is not yet in custody, police said.