Sheriff's Office: Frito-Lay burglars bagged


A Marion County sheriff's deputy pulled over a Ford van on Thursday night and reported finding stolen Frito-Lay chips inside. (Photo courtesy of MCSO)

Published: Friday, May 10, 2013 at 1:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 10, 2013 at 1:41 p.m.

OCALA - A routine traffic stop early Friday ended with a brother and sister charged with grand theft — of snack foods.

Deputy Mitchell Tucker saw a small child jumping around in the back seat of a blue Ford van leaving Northwest 68th Avenue and turning east on State Road 40. The deputy stopped the vehicle and saw that it was filled with Frito-Lay products.

The driver, Darren L. Hagerman, 25, told the deputy he went to the Frito-Lay factory, which is located at 6783 NW Third Place, to see if he could get any chips but it was closed so he turned around and was heading home.

When he was asked why there were so many bags of chips and snacks in the van, Hagerman said he stops at all the chip factories and if the gate is open, he takes whatever is left out. He told the deputy he did not recover any chips from Frito-Lay, according to reports.

The deputy alerted Lt. Dennis Joiner to check with Frito-Lay to see if anyone was at the factory or if there had been any damage reported. An employee told Joiner that when he arrived for work, he saw a man and a woman in a blue van inside the gate, who he had never seen before.

Hagerman told Tucker he did not enter the business because the gate was locked, then changed his story, telling the deputy he might have entered the place and that employees are careless and “leave keys sometimes.”

Hagerman then told the deputy he has had a key for a long time and that he and his sister, Jessica Huggard, 22, had been going across Marion and Citrus counties taking chips, which they sold to make a living. He said the products in the van came from a Dumpster at Frito-Lay, reports note.

A district manager told the deputy the only products that would be in the Dumpster would be those with expired dates and that if the dates were not expired, then the products had been from a truck or the loading dock.

Among the three boxes of Frito-Lay products in the van, about half the packages had expired dates.

Hagerman was arrested.

Huggard told the deputy a similar story about the gate being locked. She also was arrested.

The child in the van, who belongs to Huggard, was picked up by a relative.

Huggard, who was released from the jail a little after 2 p.m. Friday, after posting $10,000 bond, said that she and her brother eat, sell and donate the snack foods. She said the ones in the van were taken from Dumpsters. She said she would consider it stealing if they had taken them from docks or trucks.

She said they have been taking the products “more than I could remember” and that the snacks came from Ocala, Inverness, Brooksville and throughout Florida. She said they would continue to do so because “that’s the way we make our living.” She said they make anywhere from $50 to $100 weekly.

Huggard said she had her daughter with her because she didn’t have a babysitter and the girl wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese.

According to jail records, Hagerman remained there Friday afternoon in lieu of $10,000 bond.

Contact Austin L. Miller at 867-4118 or austin.miller@starbanner.com.

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