San Francisco, CA

Accused serial retail thieves busted after returning to same Target they stole from the previous day, sheriff says

Golden Gate Media

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The suspects stuffed expensive Dyson vacuums into empty toy boxes and paid for the lower price toys, sheriff's investigators said.Placer Co. Sheriff

Accused serial retail thieves were busted when they returned to a Target store they stole from the previous day, according to Sheriff’s investigators who looked into the incident.

The arrest happened at a Placer County Target store last week after an alert loss prevention employee figured out something was up when high-value merchandise had gone out the door without anyone paying for it. Deputies linked the pair to several Target store retail thefts in the Sacramento-area.

“Two suspects were arrested at the Auburn Target after hiding high-dollar merchandise in children’s toy boxes!” the Sheriff’s Office stated. “A sharp-eyed loss prevention officer noticed on July 20th a man and a woman were in the infant toy section of the store removing toys from their boxes. They then took the empty boxes to the houseware section and put Dyson vacuums in the boxes. The pair checked out at the register and were charged for the toys, not the hidden vacuums, valued at around $1,000.”

Like switching barcodes on merchandise, this is a common tactic employed by retail thieves.

“Loss prevention alerted our deputies of this and through an investigation, the Dysons and the suspects were located on the website OfferUp,” sheriff’s investigators said. “The next day, the suspects returned and were detained by deputies. The pair were identified as 31-year old Denelle Long and 24-year old William Hammond, both of Citrus Heights. Deputies searched their vehicle and found methamphetamine. Long and Hammond are also responsible for thefts at other Targets in the surrounding area. Both suspects were arrested for burglary, conspiracy, and possession of methamphetamine.”

Retail theft has become a major issue statewide, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area where thieves have brazenly walked out of stores in broad daylight with armloads of stolen merchandise. That has resulted in Walgreens and CVS stores shutting down for good throughout San Francisco and Oakland. Target stores in San Francisco have limited their hours to cut back on mass thefts during early morning and late-night hours.

“As reported by the National Retail Federation, organized retail theft accounts for nearly $30 billion in economic loss per year,” according to the California Highway Patrol’s Retail Crime Task Force. “This loss is carried by retailers on several levels but is ultimately passed on to consumers through price inflation to offset economic loss. While the problem is most commonly associated with shoplifting, it extends well beyond into associated organized criminal activity. Commercial burglary, vehicle burglary, identity theft, credit card fraud, forgery, and fencing (selling or distribution of) stolen property are part of a bigger picture that finance ongoing criminal operations.”

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