The videos of people grabbing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from stores and running out without paying for any of it have gone viral across the country.
And because of a concentrated effort to stop organized retail theft, Manteca Police believe they have apprehended two people responsible for the practice that authorities say underwrites illegal activity committed by violent gangs and human traffickers.
Jose Galindo, 32, and Josefina Perez, 19, were booked into the San Joaquin County Jail on Tuesday on charges related to organized retail theft – where people collaborate to target and steal specific, high-value items from retail environment and use strong-arm tactics and threats of violence to avoid apprehension.
According to Manteca Police, the pair were initially stopped for a vehicle infraction by a patrol sergeant who noticed there were a number of items in the car that were consistent with organized retail theft. After reaching out to a Manteca Police Detective who has been working on organized retail crime cases since January when a new pilot program premiered, the sergeant was able to learn that the two were suspected of a number of cases both in Manteca and other surrounding communities.
The pilot program, which was founded after a rash of these crimes not just in Manteca but across the region and the wider North State, is aimed at both preventing the crimes before they happen and identifying those known to be responsible.
“People who are a part of ORC groups inflict massive losses to our local businesses which ultimately leads to increased prices for all us consumers as these losses are passed onto all of us,” the Manteca Police said in a statement announcing the arrest of the pair. “In addition, the tax dollars are taken from our community. Those who work in retail are confronted with violence and conflict during their employment.”
Because of the dollar amount attached to the merchandise that investigators believe they are responsible for taking, Galindo is currently being held without bail – facing felony charges that include burglary, conspiracy, organized retail theft and a number of probation violations. Perez is being held on $1 million bail for her charges with are similar in nature.
“These high bail amounts and felony charges for these ORC related crimes are often a surprise to most of the suspects we arrest,” the Manteca Police said in a statement announcing the arrest. “We hope the word spreads quickly to those considering committing these crimes against Manteca, so they can avoid finding themselves in jail with felony cases pending against them.”
Both Galindo and Perez are scheduled to appear in Department M1 of the Manteca branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court today at 1:25 p.m. to answer to the charges against them.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.