Manatee man charged with stealing eyeglasses to pay for pills

MANATEE -- A 34-year-old Manatee man was charged with shoplifting Wednesday after he stole two pairs of reading glasses with the intent of trading them for pills, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Todd Aalberg attempted to leave Eye Center Inc., 2003 Cortez Road W., at about 4:25 p.m. with the glasses concealed in his front right shorts pocket, an arrest report said.

On his way out of the store a witness and an owner of the store confronted Aalberg and recovered the stolen glasses, the report said. They also detained Aalberg in the store until deputies arrived.

While searching Aalberg, deputies found in a rear pocket a sliver spoon with burnt marks, the report said, along with two needle syringes and a short straw.

After being read his rights, Aalberg said he is addicted to pain pills and intended to trade the stolen glasses to feed his habit, the report said.

Aalberg is currently in Manatee County jail, charged with shoplifting and drug possession. Bonds totaled $2,620.