FCPD: Organized shoplifting attempt at Saks Fifth Avenue in Tysons foiled

Saks Fifth Avenue at Tysons Galleria (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Three people arrested for recently attempting to shoplift from Saks Fifth Avenue in Tysons Galleria were part of an “organized retail theft crew” based in Philadelphia, Fairfax County police say.

The three individuals — one man and two women — were seen picking up “multiple high-end handbags and other luxury merchandise” at the store on July 13, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Officers with the department’s Tysons Urban Team (TUT) had tracked the trio to the store after getting a tip from Sak’s Fifth Avenue’s regional loss prevention team that their vehicle — a gold Chevrolet Impala with Pennsylvania tags — had just left the company’s Chevy Chase store.

“With this information, TUT officers utilized [license plate reader] technology and learned that the vehicle had entered Virginia and was in the immediate vicinity,” the FCPD said. “The vehicle was located and observed by TUT units heading in the direction of Saks Fifth Avenue in McLean.”

After taking merchandise at Saks in Tysons, officers saw the individuals start toward the store’s exit without paying, according to police:

The vehicle’s occupants were observed by the TUT team entering the store. Once in the store, they selected multiple high-end handbags and other luxury merchandise and headed toward the exit without paying. When approached by the store’s Loss Prevention team, the two suspects ran. TUT units were already in the area and were able to take one suspect into custody. The other suspect was found in a nearby dumpster after a brief search of the area. The driver of the vehicle was soon located and taken into custody, as well.

The FCPD says approximately $15,000 worth of merchandise has been recovered. Some may be from another retail store that reported a theft by one of the suspects.

All three individuals face charges of grand larceny, larceny with intent to sell or distribute, conspiracy to commit larceny and organized retail theft.

A 26-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man, both from Philadelphia, have also been charged with resisting arrest. A 32-year-old woman faces additional charges of drug possession and eluding police by disregarding a law enforcement officer’s signal to stop.

They were all transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and initially held without bond. Fairfax County General District Court records indicate that the man has been released on recognizance, while both women remain in custody.

The women had bond hearings this morning (Tuesday). A preliminary hearing in the case has been scheduled for Sept. 27.

The FCPD has said that organized retail theft — where large quantities of merchandise are taken through theft or fraud with the intent of reselling the goods — has significantly increased over the past year. Police attributed a drop in incidents last month to enhanced enforcement and education efforts as part of a summer crime prevention initiative.

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