Woman surrenders to police in Petland theft cases

Shelly R. Hess, 50, of Chesterfield, Mo. | Courtesy of the Lake St. Louis, Mo. Police Department
Shelly R. Hess, 50, of Chesterfield, Mo. | Courtesy of the Lake St. Louis, Mo. Police Department

A woman charged with stealing a puppy last fall from a Petland store in Missouri has turned herself in to Naperville police, in connection with similar crimes she allegedly committed in Naperville and Bolingbrook.

Shelly R. Hess surrendered Wednesday at the Naperville police station on a Class 3 felony charge of retail theft, Sgt. Bill Davis confirmed Thursday in an email. She was photographed, fingerprinted and processed at the station before being released on $3,000 bond, the 10 percent of her $30,000 bail required by law.

Bolingbrook police Lt. Mike Rompa said he verified Thursday afternoon that Hess “bonded out on both warrants” issued in the Bolingbrook and Naperville Petland cases. “She satisfied both” bonds while being processed by Naperville police, Rompa said via email.

Hess, 50, of Chesterfield, Mo., has had a hectic week in dealing with authorities. She appeared Thursday in a St. Charles County, Mo. courtroom in the alleged theft of a puppy from the Petland store in Lake Saint Louis, Mo.. A judge set an April 9 “disposition hearing” in that matter, according to court records.

Additionally, a formal indictment was returned Thursday in Will County Circuit Court in Joliet against Hess for her alleged theft of a dog from the Petland shop in Bolingbrook, a crime police said occurred shortly before the one in Naperville.

Hess stands accused of the Nov. 7 theft of a female Havanese puppy valued at $1,700 from the Lake Saint Louis Petland shop. She is also to stand trial for the alleged Nov. 8 thefts of a 14-week-old male Maltese from the Petland store at 744 E. Boughton Road in Bolingbrook, and a 2-month-old male Havanese from the Naperville Petland, at 720 S. Route 59.

A written, probable cause statement issued by Lake Saint Louis police declared Hess traveled to the Naperville-Bolingbrook area and stole the dogs. An unidentified man believed to be a relative or friend of Hess’ on Nov. 10 brought all three puppies in a portable kennel to the Lake Saint Louis Petland before fleeing from the area.

Hess on Nov. 22 allegedly returned to the Naperville Petland “and purchased two dogs,” according to the probable cause statement. One of those puppies, named Casper, was the one she had stolen earlier in the month, the statement said.

Police said Hess later allegedly “called the manager of the Naperville Petland store several times and confessed” to the original theft. Police said she expressed her hope that, “by purchasing these two dogs, it would make it right.”

Telephone records from the Naperville Petland showed Hess made those calls using her cell phone, the statement indicated. Police also said they traced her Nov. 8 travels to the Naperville-Bolingbrook area using Illinois State Toll Highway Authority records.

Davis said Hess is scheduled to appear March 31 in DuPage County Circuit Court in Wheaton, to answer the charges in the Naperville Petland case.