dwright@PhoenixvilleNews.com

PHOENIXVILLE -- David Francis Constantini, already incarcerated in Chester County Prison, was ordered to stand trial in district court after he allegedly stole over $590 worth of merchandise from the Giant Food Store in November.

Constantini, 40, of the 1400 block of Simpson Street, Linwood, is charged with retail theft.

Prior to the preliminary hearing, Brooke Soper of the Chester County District Attorney's Office amended the criminal complaint to add the charge of receiving stolen property.

According to court testimony, a Giant employee said that she was leaving on Nov. 13, 2008, and she noticed the shelf with Monistat was completely filled.

The employee, whose name is being withheld by The Phoenix, said that when she arrived for work on November 14, the shelf was empty of Monistat.

"It wasn't hard to notice," said the employee. "I asked the manager to come check it out. We then went to look at the cameras."

A Giant asset protection detective played a DVD from the surveillance camera of the time when Constantini entered the store, which was around 6:30 p.m. November 13.

The DVD showed that Constantini walked into the store around 6:33 p.m., to which he put paper towels and laundry detergent into the grocery cart.

"He boxed them in the cart to hide other items," said the detective. "He then places the Monistat into the boxed area inside the cart."

When the detective was asked by Public Defender Jamie Green how many times did Constantini go back and forth from the shelf to the cart, Constantini said audibly, "Seven times."

The detective said that Constantini then walked up to the front of the store, and passed all points of purchase before walking out of the vestibule and the store.

She said that Constantini left the store with an estimated value of over $500 worth of merchandise, including Monistat, diapers, laundry detergent, paper towels and toilet paper.

The detective testified in court that she had received a security bulletin regarding Constantini from another de

tective from another Giant store.

"I received a bulletin from another store that they had a prior incident with him," she said. "We were able to identify him in both instances."

Officer Nick Heller said he responded to the Giant Food Store, 700 Nutt Road, Phoenixville for a report of retail theft on Nov. 14, 2008.

Upon arrival, Heller said he spoke with a store detective, who showed Heller photos of an individual leaving the store with merchandise.

"The individual at the time wasn't known, and an initial report was filed," said Heller. "Photos from the surveillance cameras were secured on a disk and given to me as well as hard copies."

Through their investigation, it was determined that the theft occurred on Nov. 13, 2008, around 6:30 p.m.

"The loss prevention manager said the individual was known at other Giant Food Stores for the same type of thefts," said Heller. "A photograph of Constantini was obtained through JNET and compared to the photograph of the individual involved in the retail thefts. A positive identification was made and Constantini is responsible for the retail theft on November 13 at the Giant Food Store."

After hearing all of the court testimony, Magisterial District Judge Ted Michaels held the amended charges over for trial.

Constantini was remanded back to Chester County Prison in lieu of $1,500 cash bail.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday, March 5, in the Court of Common Pleas in West Chester.

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