pair’s retail scheme a growing trend nationally and locally in Syracuse, N.Y.
Stealing - Refunding for gift cards - Selling to pawn shops Police say
a pair of women from Solvay were caught in a large scale larceny scheme and are
calling their arrests a small victory in the ongoing battle against organized
retail theft. 29-year-old Jessica Brettschneider and 29-year-old Sara
Michlovitch teamed up to rip off several dozen chain stores throughout Onondaga
County, according to police. Investigators say the women would steal merchandise
from one store, such as Target, and return the items to another Target store in
exchange for gift cards. They would then sell the gift cards to pawn shops to
get half their face value in cash, police said. “Several (gift cards) per day,
the investigation is still ongoing, but several per day for several months,
right now we are in excess of $5,000,” said Manlius Police Investigator James
Gallup. The scheme is not uncommon, according to DeWitt Police Sgt. Scott Kapral,
who pushed for the formation of the Greater DeWitt Retail Theft Coalition.
ORC suspect busted with booster bag after hitting Vacaville Premium Outlets
Vacaville police arrested an Oakland man Wednesday evening after authorities say
he stole thousands of dollars worth of merchandise during a shoplifting spree at
a number of local businesses. Christopher Cooper, 30, was taken into custody by
officers. During a search of Cooper's vehicle, officers reportedly found
thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from a confirmed eight (and suspected
nine) stores -- six from the Vacaville Premium Outlets, Nadasdy said. Officers
also identified merchandise from two stores that are not in Vacaville, and were
attempting to contact representatives from the Westfield Mall in Fairfield.
According to Nadasdy, Cooper utilized a tin foil-lined "booster bag" in order to
sneak the merchandise past the various stores' anti-theft sensors.
Alleged Vera Bradley Purse Thief Cast a Wide Net in Michigan
Laura Anne Pochmara of Rochester may be implicated in Vera
Bradley thefts Saline, Dexter and several other cities. She now faces felony
charges or organized retail fraud. The arrest of a Rochester woman in Milford
two months ago for the alleged theft of thousands of dollars in Vera Bradley
designer purses is helping authorities in several other southeast Michigan
cities wrap up similar crimes that date back more than two years. Authorities
allege Laura Anne Pochmara, 37, would sell the purses on craigslist.com or eBay,
return them to retail stores for cash or store credit, or sell them at
discounted prices to friends and acquaintances.