ST. CLAIRSVILLE - What began as a routine shoplifting incident at the Ohio Valley Mall has turned in to a much larger investigation.
A 30-year-old woman, Lander Lee Nettles, was apprehended by Pete Bendo around 8 p.m. on Saturday at Gabriel Brothers at the Ohio Valley Mall. Bendo works as a risk management and loss prevention investigator, with St. Clairsville's Gabriel Bros. being one of the locations he monitors.
"It's not the first time I've done this. It's one of the jobs I have," Bendo said of catching the shoplifter in the act.
When police arrived, it was soon discovered that Nettles was wanted by two different agencies in West Virginia for other crimes, one being a home invasion in Benwood that Nettles allegedly committed with involvement from Arthur Harvey, 58, of Wheeling.
In an interview with a media outlet, Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas said, "(We) interviewed her, interrogated her, got consent to search, searched the car, found identification of a male which led to Benwood and solving these other crimes." He also stated that deputies found cocaine during their search of the vehicle.
Nettles is currently facing charges in Belmont County including theft, obstructing official business, possession of drug abuse instruments and possession of cocaine.
In West Virginia, Nettles is facing charges of felony burglary and misdemeanors of petit larceny and destruction of property, in addition to a charge for bond revocation, according to a News 9 report.
Police are still looking to apprehend Harvey. Anyone with information is encouraged to come forth and contact their local police department.
"If all of the allegations are true regarding Ms. Nettles, I'm happy to have been involved in getting her off of the streets," Bendo said. "It was my experience that night that the Belmont County Sheriff's Dept. are top notch professionals who do a great job."
Bendo has been doing investigative work for approximately 20 years, though he's only been with Gabriel Bros. for about two years. In addition to his work as a loss prevention investigator, Bendo is currently running for Belmont County Commissioner as the Republican nominee.
Bendo says he is prepared to quit his current job if elected to the position. He stated that the county is lacking leadership from its current commissioners and is heading in the wrong direction.
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