A man wanted in San Bernardino County was charged with murder this week after La Verne police arrested him as he tried to steal a shopping cart full of laundry detergent from a supermarket, the La Verne Police Department said.
An officer patrolling near the Vons on Foothill Boulevard late Monday, Nov. 7, saw a man identified as Geoffrey Giovanni Mwangi, 22, rushing out of the store while pushing a cart filled with more than 20 large Tide detergent bottles and with the store manager following, authorities said.
The officer detained Mwangi and learned there was a warrant out for his arrest, police said.
On Thursday, Nov. 10, Mwangi pleaded not guilty to murder and discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury, Superior Court records show. Information on the homicide were not available on Thursday.
He was being held at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga in lieu of $1 million bail.
Mwangi did come clean to police on the detergent: He told them that he sells stolen Tide at swap meets, Lt. Jason Prows said.
Tide is a popular item to steal because it is considered a high-quality detergent and can be traded for drugs or other items. Unlike electronic items that have serial numbers, detergent is difficult to trace. And shoplifting is a relatively low-risk operation compared to other crimes by thieves hoping to make a quick buck.
In this case, Vons got the Tide back.