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Tilton police: Concord delivery man at center of potato chip scam

The potato chip aisle might not seem the most profitable setting for an alleged scam. But the police said they believe that for Robert Martel, a 50-something Frito-Lay delivery man from Penacook, the scheme worked well enough, one dime at a time.

The Tilton police said they arrested Martel last week and charged him with willful concealment and receiving stolen property after watching him remove unexpired bags of his company’s product from the shelves – an illegal practice that they said Martel has honed over time.

Detective Bryan Keeler said the con was somewhat complex: Martel would pretend to replace expired bags with fresher ones, but would instead remove both, making it appear he had sold more bags than he actually had. Keeler said Martel makes a 10-cent profit for every bag sold.

It might not seem like much at first, Keeler said. But he said Martel has worked for the company for at least the past four years and has roughly 25 stores on his route, including half a dozen in Tilton. Keeler said the department has not quantified how much Martel may have stolen over the years.

The alleged scheme was first reported last month by the manager of the Dollar General in town, Keeler said. Officers reviewed surveillance footage apparently showing Martel in the act. They then followed him to the store May 1 and watched from a back room as he did it once more, Keeler said.

Two or three other stores have come forward with similar claims since the arrest, he said.

Keeler said Martel is either 56 or 57 and has no previous criminal record. He has been released on $2,000 personal recognizance bail and is due in Franklin’s district court next month.

An employee at the Dollar General declined to comment.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

Legacy Comments2

Eat your heart out, Frito Bandito.

I wish they would go after the CC number thieves with such zealous. I feel safer now that the $0.10 a bag Potato Chip Scam has been cracked.

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