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Manteca Police snag another suspect in organized retail theft
retail mnug

According to police, 44-year-old Oakland resident Freddy Earl Burgess didn’t even bother to slow down when he walked out of a local retailer last month with more than $1,000 in merchandise that he didn’t pay for.

Now he’s being held without bail at the San Joaquin County Jail on charges or organized retail theft and outstanding drug warrants.

While Burgess was able to walk away from the Manteca store in January with the merchandise – even after a store employee tried to intervene as he walked to his car and loaded everything in before driving away – he apparently didn’t factor in the communication of law enforcement agencies that are working together to eliminate these types of crimes.

With Manteca Police Detective Dave Brown working with loss prevention officers throughout the city as well as other agencies to thwart organized rings, Burgess appeared on Manteca’s radar when he was spotted by a loss prevention officer in Walnut Creek when attempting a similar heist earlier this month.

Burgess was taken into custody by Walnut Creek Police who then handed him off to Manteca Police so that he could be transported into the San Joaquin County Jail and booked on charges of burglary, grand theft, and organized retail theft as well as outstanding no-bail warrants for possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance for sale.

He will be held in the San Joaquin County Jail until Tuesday, March 17, when he appears in Department M1 of the Manteca branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court to answer to the charges.

The arrest marks that the third major apprehension of somebody involved with the costly crime in the last month – a sign of headway against the rising number of brazen thefts that cost retailers each time somebody is successful before passing those costs back on to the consumers.

The issue has gotten to be so bad in some places, boutique stores like Apple have gone so far as to post armed security or even police officers at their store locations to thwart people from making off with display models that are then sold on the black market. High-end boutique stores have made headlines with tens of thousands of dollars of items stolen, but regular big-box retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Kohl’s have routinely targeted as well.

According to police, the pilot program that Manteca has launched – putting a detective on the case in close cooperation with loss prevention officers – includes facets of proactive policing and routine patrols to prevent thieves from attempting the heists. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.