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Shoplifting is investigated

A 31-year-old Hastings man, Bradley David Cowden, faces a felony charge of possession of shoplifting gear following a March 10 incident at Menards in Cottage Grove. According to the criminal complaint filed in Washington County, Cottage Grove Police were called to the store the evening of March 10 on the report of a shoplifter in custody. When officers arrived, they located the male, identified as Cowden, with loss prevention staff. They told police that they had observed Cowden selecting several items and them concealing them in a bag he had pinned inside the back of his jacket. He left the store without paying for the items. They were valued at more than $130.

In a statement, Cowden admitted he had selected several items and concealed them in the back of his coat. He admitted he left the store without paying for them. The items were going to be used to pay off a debt, he said.