03-12-09 Boise Police Make Arrests in Professional Shoplifting Ring
Boise, March 12, 2009 - Boise Police arrested three people Wednesday believed to be part of a professional shoplifting ring from Mexico.
Arrested: Seferino Gomez Morela, 22, Mexico
Arrested: Juan Bravo Ochoa, 29, Mexico
Arrested: Jose Hernandez-Sanchez, 22, Mexico
Charges (all): Burglary (F), Grand Theft (F)
What Happened: Boise Police were contacted Wednesday morning by a manager of a local chain store with multiple locations around Boise. Store employees told Boise Police they had reason to believe a group of men had been in several of their stores over the last three or four days acting suspiciously, possibly stealing merchandise. The store employees said the same group of men were spotted at a store location Tuesday night on Milwaukee Ave.
The Investigation: Investigators from the Boise Police Organized Retail Crime Unit, Property Crimes detectives, and Boise Police patrol officers set up surveillance on the Milwaukee Ave. store Wednesday morning. A short time later, the same group of men returned to the store. The suspects were then seen by officers leaving the store without paying for a backpack and suitcase. Officers took the suspects into custody outside the store. After the arrests, inside the backpack and suitcase, officers found several dozen pair of jeans, high-end purses, and ball caps, also stolen from the store. The recovered stolen merchandise is valued at more than $2,500.
Inside the suspects vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee with California plates, officers also found screwdrivers and wire cutters, tools commonly used by shoplifters.
"These suspects look to be professional, and we believe they were headed back to Mexico, where intelligence tells us stolen merchandise from the U.S. is sold on the black market," said Curt Crum, Supervisor of the Boise Police Organized Retail Crime Unit.
"Police need the cooperation of store employees to catch these thieves. And when we do, it's a win-win for all of us, especially consumers who pay higher prices because stores have to cover their losses from theft." said Crum.
The Boise Police Organized Retail Crime Unit has developed a positive, productive working relationship with loss prevention agents from many local retail stores, large and small, local and national chains. The goal of the BPD Organized Retail Crime Unit is to work with retailers to reduce theft and fraud, crimes that often impact consumer prices.
ICE Contacted: Boise Police contacted federal agents with Immigration Customs Enforcement to further investigate the suspects immigration status, as none of the suspects had any valid U.S. identification.
The Charges: Under Idaho law, Grand Theft, a felony, is charged when the value of stolen merchandise exceeds $1,000. Under Idaho law, when law enforcement officers have evidence the suspects entered a business with the intention of stealing, the law states the appropriate charge to be felony Burglary.
Link to Idaho Criminal Statutes: http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/TOC/IDStatutesTOC.htm