Westport PD: ‘Gassy bandit’ targeted supermarket

Surveillance image of a serial shoplifting suspect dubbed the "gassy bandit" by Westport Police. (Photo Courtesy: Westport Police Department)

WESTPORT, Mass. (WPRI) — A suspect Westport police have dubbed the “gassy bandit” is accused of repeatedly stealing from the same supermarket over the course of two months.

Westport police said they arrested 32-year-old Gutemberg Freitas Tuesday on multiple counts of shoplifting. According to police, Freitas is suspected of stealing items from Lee’s Supermarket on seven different occasions.

Gutemberg Freitas (Photo Courtesy: Westport Police Department)
Gutemberg Freitas (Photo Courtesy: Westport Police Department)

Police said Freitas began his thefts on Nov. 17. According to investigators, Freitas switched the UPC labels on pricey items with labels from things that were less expensive. Police said he hid the labels under his shopping basket.

The store caught on to what Freitas was doing on Jan. 19, when police said an employee found an empty package of Beano, a dietary supplement to reduce gas, hidden behind other products. The employee showed the package to a manager, who spotted the suspect on surveillance video. Police said store management looked at more surveillance footage, and discovered the same person had shoplifted a number of times.

Police said they were able to identify Freitas as the suspect from the shopper’s card he used on each of his visits, and from his license plate. Police said Freitas returned to the store after employees were on to him, and a worker managed to get Freitas’ plate number.