Authorities busted on Wednesday an international shoplifting ring based in San Antonio targeting high-end stores like Coach, Victoria's Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Five women were arrested on organized retail theft charges after a month-long joint investigation by the San Antonio Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security found evidence the women stole en masse from high-end retailers including Williams-Sonoma, Dooney and Bourke, and Vera Bradley with the intent of reselling the property for profit.
Police said they seized more than $500,000 in stolen merchandise -- "enough to fill a large truck." Police photos show suitcases and boxes filled with iPads, perfume and clothing. Stolen items included 230 pairs of panties from Victoria's Secret worth $1600 and 60 bottles of perfume from Abercrombie & Fitch, worth $3600, according to mysanantonio.com, the Web site of the San Antonio Express-News.
The international shoplifiting bonanza spanned spanned across Mexico, Australia, Colombia, and Canada, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said.
The goods from all over the world would all come back through San Antonio. The investigation is still ongoing and further arrests and seizures are expected.
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"No matter where it was being stolen from, it was all coming back here, being inventoried, and then set up to be resold for criminal profit,” said Sgt. Daniel Anders, who oversaw the investigation, told the Express-News.
According to TV station KSAT, police said Christian Salazar, 28, Eva Salazar, 48, Cassandra Arenas, 23, and Emily Garcia 26 would target stores and would bring the items to the home of Piedad Perez, 32, who then resold the merchandise on Ebay.
"They usually worked in groups and they used devices to bypass the security measures," said Daniel Anders, an investigator with the San Antonio Police Department, told KSAT. "It's what we call booster bags."
Investigators said they expect more arrests in the case and have been tracking the travels of the arrested women.