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UPDATE: Former New Canaan Restaurateur Charged with Theft

A Darien man is charged with taking advantage of the shopper in line before him, who forgot to complete her transacton in a self-scan lane at Stop & Shop on Heights Road.

Updated at 12:56 p.m., Tuesday (see fourth paragraph):

When using a self-scan register at a supermarket (or elsewhere), make sure you've completed the transaction before leaving.

Because if you don't, you leave your debit card account or credit card account available to the shopper behind you, who may then be tempted to charge your account for that shopper's own items.

Or even take money out of your account -- and that's essentially what happened at about 7 p.m. on Nov. 18 at Stop & Shop on Heights Road in Darien, according to police, who arrested Marc Minella, 36, of Hollow Tree Ridge Rd.

Update, 12:56 p.m., Tuesday: Minella was the co-owner of the now-closed Tuscan restaurant in New Canaan. Minella had been charged by West Haven police and New Canaan police in 2013 with two counts of issuing a bad check, then he was arrested for failure to appear in court. According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch website, Minella on Dec. 1, 2013 pleaded guilty in state Superior Court in Norwalk to one count of issuing a bad check and one count of failure to appear in court and was fined $500 on each charge, for a total of $1,000.

Darien police gave this account (an accusation not proven in court) of the matter:

On that date, the victim forgot to complete her transaction and walked away. Minella then went to the register, saw that the transaction was still open, and opted to get cash from the victim's credit card account.

She had walked away with $123 in groceries, and he upped the charges to $300, taking $176.62 in cash with him.

By Dec. 23, after the woman realized extra money had been taken out of her account, she told Darien police about it. Police went to Stop & Shop's store surveillance camera, which showed the man who took the money.

Other records at Stop & Shop showed that the man had used his own store card, which allowed them to identify Minella as the man seen in the video.

Police applied for an arrest warrant, which a judge granted, and Minella was informed when police were ready to arrest him. That arrest took place on Monday, Jan. 6.

Minella was charged with sixth-degree larceny and credit card fraud. He was later released on a $250 bond and is scheduled to appear Jan. 16 in state Superior Court in Stamford.

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