Authorities aim to stop shoplifters who have been stealing many items from stores | News

At various cities in California, there have been several recent reports of groups of shoplifters walking into stores, brazenly grabbing items, and leaving without paying.

One of those incidents took place at a retailer in Fontana earlier this month. While the crime was being committed, a witness recorded the three suspects and sent the cell phone video footage to KABC-TV, which included it on a news program on March 17. The suspects were not caught.

“Unfortunately, the store never called to make a report on the incident,” said Public Information Officer Daniel Romero of the Fontana Police Department.

Police have, however, been made aware of similar thefts at three other stores in Fontana, Romero said.

He urged anyone with information about these crimes to call the P.D.

Another incident occurred in Rialto. On March 11, the Rialto Police Department posted a video on Facebook of two thieves loading items into bags and walking out of a store. The Rialto P.D. asked the public to provide information that would lead to the arrest of the suspects.

“California has seen a rise in thefts in recent years where suspects will walk into a store, clear out shelves and walk out without a care in the world. Unfortunately, some counties are not prosecuting people for these types of crimes,” Romero said, but he indicated that local law enforcement personnel are taking these incidents very seriously.

“Fontana Police Department will arrest all suspects,” he said. “San Bernardino County is prosecuting and holding people accountable for their actions.”

—– ON MARCH 25, the state made progress in the fight against these types of crimes as California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the arrest of and felony charges against members of an organized retail theft ring operating throughout California, including the Inland Empire.

The theft ring was operating in Los Angeles County as well as in San Bernardino, Riverside, Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Orange, Sacramento, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Ventura counties.

The California Department of Justice filed charges against nine defendants following a California Highway Patrol investigation that began in 2021. One of the suspects, Leobardo Leony, is from San Bernardino County.

During a search and arrest operation in Los Angeles on March 21, officers arrested five of the targeted suspects and recovered about $62,000 in cash and $135,000 of stolen merchandise from major retailers, including Macy’s, Columbia Sportswear, Abercrombie & Fitch, J.C. Penney, and Lululemon. One of the thefts took place at J.C. Penney in the Inland Center Mall in San Bernardino on Jan. 28.

An additional suspect from the operation was charged on March 22 and remained at large. Three suspects were charged in a separate complaint for allegedly possessing more than $17,000 in stolen merchandise.

“Organized retail theft hurts businesses, employees, and the public — and this criminal activity will not be tolerated in California,” said Bonta in a news release. “Today we take another step toward tackling this issue by announcing the arrests and felony charges against individuals alleged to be participants in an organized criminal scheme targeting retailers throughout our state.”

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