An assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Des Moines University was charged with aggravated theft after employees of a West Des Moines grocery store alleged she stolen items valued at $5.94.
Nicole Brodersen, an assistant manager at , 5003 E.P. True Pkwy., and Douglas Fletcher, the frozen foods manager, had detained the suspect, Rebecca Monsma of West Des Moines, when Jason Heintz arrived on April 6.
The store officials alleged Monsma, a licensed social worker, took a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese and a bottle of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day household cleanser from the shelves, then walked to the store’s liquor aisle and concealed them in her purse.
The police report said Brodersen and Fletcher had suspected Monsma of shoplifting during the past several weeks, but had been unable to catch her in the act.
Fletcher told police he confronted Monsma and she said she would pay for the items, but instead she attempted to leave the store. According to the police report, Fletcher grabbed Monsma by the wrist and shoulder in an attempt to stop her, but she “continued to struggle and scratched Fletcher on his right cheek.”
Officer Heintz said in his report that Monsma "was acting very strange. Due to my training and experience, it was obvious that she was under the influence of some kind of drug.”
Heintz said when he interviewed Monsma, “she continued to say she would pay for the items and could not believe that this was happening.”
The police officer said Monsoma asked that he document in his report bruising that occurred to her wrist when Fletcher detained her.
Officials with Des Moines University, a post-graduate health sciences university in Des Moines, have not returned phone calls seeking comment.
A call to Monsma’s extension at the school was directed to the office of Debra Bustad, an academic assistant in the Department of Behavioral Medicine, where Monsma is listed as an assistant professor.