Two women banned from Michigan steal candles from candle shop

Author Ed Anderson
Kiara Bannister and Candera Barabino are charged with retail fraud in MichiganPhoto byBloomfield Police Department

Kiara Bannister and Canedra Barabino, both 24, were banned from entering the state of Michigan due to prior convictions. However, they were pulled over by police in Bloomfield Township. When officers checked the car, they were surprised to find merchandise from Bath & Body Works. The women were arrested on the spot.

More than $1,600 worth of candles was recovered from the car. Fox 2 News reports store employees called the police when Bannister and Barabino started their shoplifting spree, which helped officers get to the area sooner to catch them. Workers and customers in the store were able to provide details about the car that the alleged thieves were driving, further cutting the time it took to bring them in.

Bath & Body Works reclaimed their merchandise. The impact of the theft might seem to be nil, but if not for the fast thinking of the witnesses, it's possible that the women would have been able to get out of Michigan and back to the Toledo area, where they resided. Leaving a big chunk of merchandise missing and an innocent employee in trouble.

Instead, The Oakland Press writes that Bannister is facing organized retail crime and first-degree retail fraud charges, both of which are felonies. Her accomplice, Barabino, is facing organized retail fraud and misdemeanor third-degree retail fraud charges.

According to The Oakland Press, both women are out on a $5,000 bond. Their next court hearing is scheduled for May 1, 2023.
The women stole more than $1,600 in candlesPhoto byImage by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

History Of The Women

Why were Bannister and Barabino not allowed in Michigan? It stemmed from another retail fraud case, this one in Royal Oak. WDIV reports that there is also a probation order from Livingston County that bars the women from entering the state.

Though it's unclear how that could be enforced.

The women now face prison time for retail fraud charges. According to the law firm Lewis and Dickstein, they could be sentenced up to five years for that charge alone.

For the organized retail fraud charge, Bannister faces another five years in prison. reveals that the law also allows the state to add a monetary punishment, if she is convicted, up to $5,000.

In recent years, laws have been toughened up because shoplifting and other forms of theft have grown exponentially. And the bigger threats of theft comes from outside of a business, especially in a retail setting.

Forbes writes that, "37% of retailer’s shrink is due to external theft, followed by employee or internal theft at 28.5%, and process or control failures at 25.7%."

States and businesses have worked together to combat the problem, though the effect of these efforts may not be known for some time. It often takes a while for the impact of laws and enforcement to be seen.

bSome of the other efforts to keep merchandise safe are obvious. Having security cameras and asset protection agents in the store often help with the mitigation of theft. It's unclear if the Bath and Body Works store that Bannister and Barabino robbed had either of those things, but the fast thinking of employees suggests that there were other protocols in place.
Bannister and Barabino are expected in court next weekPhoto byImage by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Retail Theft In Michigan

This case is just the latest in a string of retail fraud rings that have been found in Michigan in the last few months.

Earlier this year, five women were charged with stealing from Ulta, a makeup store in Livingston County. MLive reports that the women were charged with the incident that happened on January 12, 2023. No court date has been set for that case yet.

In Royal Oak, four people were arrested after stealing more than $4,000 in merchandise from Lululemon. Fox 2 Detroit says that in that case, the stolen product was recovered by the arresting officers and given back to the retailer.

bAs for Bannister and Baraino, they are expecting back in court on May 1, 2023, for a preliminary hearing. They are expected to enter their pleas at the time.

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Ed Anderson is a true crime and gossip writer from Detroit, Michigan. Ed is the author of several true crime books, most recently Financing Doubt.

Rochester, MI

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