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La Crosse woman accused of stealing van from man she met downtown
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La Crosse woman accused of stealing van from man she met downtown

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A La Crosse woman was charged Wednesday with stealing two vehicles, including a van owned by a man she met downtown, according to court records.

Prosecutors filed two criminal complaints against Alayna J. Benitez, 26, no permanent address, in La Crosse County Circuit, charging her with two counts of operating a vehicle without owner’s consent, two counts of felony bail jumping, misdemeanor theft, possession of an illegally obtained prescription, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and operating a motor vehicle while revoked.

Benitez met a man downtown twice in June while calling herself “Alicia,” then asked him for a ride June 20, according to the criminal complaint.

She asked to spend the night at his home in the town of Greenfield, then — after a relaxed evening — she disappeared with his van, keys and wallet while he was in the shower the next morning, according to the complaint.

Inside the van were tools and other items worth about $1,000, according to police.

On July 8, police spotted the stolen van parked on the 2600 block of Loomis Street. They observed Benitez driving the vehicle away, then pulled it over, according to the complaint.

Benitez, who was out on bond connected to a Washington County, Wis., case, initially told police the vehicle had been loaned to her, then later admitted she took it without permission, according to the complaint.

A search of the vehicle revealed 2.2 grams of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia, five 50mg Tramadol pills and a hydrocodone tablet; however, the man’s belongings were gone, according to the complaint.

Benitez was arrested and released on a signature bond.

She is accused of stealing a second vehicle July 28 in Bangor, which was recovered Aug. 5 in Fox Point, Wis., in Milwaukee County. She was positively identified as the thief by the owner of the vehicle, according to the complaint.

She was arrested in Milwaukee County.

Jourdan Vian can be reached at jvian@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.

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