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Lakes Region stores check for signs of snack fraud

TILTON — Stores in the Tilton-Belmont area were checking Wednesday to see if they had fallen victim to a Frito-Lay delivery man who has been charged with stealing products from a store on his delivery route.

Robert Martell, 46, was arrested on May 1 and charged with of a felony count of willful concealment and receiving stolen property, according to Tilton Police Detective Nate Buffington.

Martell — whose route included 26 stores — was caught on video illegally taking 52 unsold, non-expired bags off the Tilton Dollar General Store’s shelves and leaving with them after putting 52 fresher bags on the shelves, Buffington said.

Police aren’t sure what he did with the products he left with. Martell was paid more for sold bags of products than he was for expired bags that he returned.

“He claimed he had to do it to make more money, but he wasn’t making a lot more money by committing these crimes,” Buffington said. “He’s been an employee on this route for five years, we have to wonder how long he’s been doing this, and we hope to have answers to that soon,” Buffington said.

He said Frito-Lay was not aware of the thefts.

After his arrest, Martell was released by a Franklin District Court judge on $2,000 personal recognizance bail.

The investigation continues, Buffington said. Anyone with information is asked to call the Tilton police detectives at 286-8207, pressing the number “3

Frito-Lay officials did not respond to requests for comment.