Shoplifting charge means court appearance, Walmart ban for pair

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Banned from the Greencastle Walmart store as one punishment, two local residents are facing multiple criminal charges following a reported shoplifting incident at the superstore last week.

Nicholas G. Rogers, 27, and Chelsi Benassi, 22, made their initial appearance in court Tuesday afternoon before Putnam Superior Court Judge Denny Bridges, who entered not-guilty pleas on their behalf -- although not before Rogers wanted to roll the dice and plead guilty.

"Can I just plead guilty and get it all out of the way?" Rogers asked before adding, "I'm trying to get on with my life."

His alleged actions six days earlier, however, have him facing charges of theft, criminal mischief and invasion of privacy -- all Class A misdemeanors, each punishable by up to 365 days in jail.

And Rogers' latest alleged indiscretions also have resulted in a second petition to revoke his bond.

Knowing that led Judge Bridges to advise Rogers to slow his roll.

"You're looking at one, two, three, four, five, six years," the judge said computing the various pending sentences on Rogers' plate.

His guilty plea notion scuttled, Rogers was ordered held at the Putnam County Jail on $10,000 cash bond (no 10 percent allowed).

Both Rogers and Benassi have incurred no-contact orders with the Greencastle Walmart as a result of an alleged Dec. 29 shoplifting incident in which they were arrested by GPD Officer Brad Hiatt.

That came after Walmart asset protection personnel observed the pair allegedly concealing items as they roamed through the store.

Rogers and Benassi took a reported $148.09 in miscellaneous merchandise, including men's T-shirts, potato wedges, barbecue chunks, women's slippers, women's socks and footwear.

That footwear was later identified as what Benassi was wearing when the couple were apprehended while reportedly putting other stolen items in a dumpster behind the AT&T store on the outlot in front of the Walmart property.

Following their arrest it was discovered that Benassi had previously taken out a protective order against Rogers, which resulted in him getting hit with the invasion of privacy charge.

Benassi, meanwhile, was charged with theft, a Class A misdemeanor, and a petition to revoke bond.

She was ordered held on $750 bond in the new case, while Judge Bridges appointed Mindi Jackman-Hanlin as her legal counsel.

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