CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) are charging five different women for their role in alleged organized retail crime at a local mall.
Officer Mandy Giannini, the CMPD’s Northlake Mall liaison officer, said the women will be charged for stealing from multiple stores at Northlake Mall on Oct. 28.
She said the group includes pregnant 19-year-old suspect Armani Cloud. Cloud has been arrested several times in Mecklenburg County for alleged identity theft and larceny.
Giannini said the four other women charged for the alleged retail crimes are Laporsha Thomas, Jasmine Thomas, Jessica Williams-Thompson and Kaila Anderson. She said the crimes happened at Northlake Mall in November.
Giannini said the women stole seven purses from the Aldo store, and surveillance footage shows the group working together inside of the business. The officer said four of the stolen purses have already been recovered, but the store still incurred a loss of $195.
She said shortly after leaving Aldo, the women went into the Victoria's Secret store and stole 104 different items using purses, backpacks and shopping bags to stash the merchandise. Giannini said the items were valued at $3,260.55.
The officer said two of the women, Cloud and Anderson, were then spotted entering the Dick’s Sporting Goods store at the mall. Giannini said the two women stole hundreds of dollars worth of Nike apparel from the store.
The officer explained that just a few days after the alleged Oct. 28 thefts, Armani Cloud and Jasmine Thomas returned to the Victoria’s Secret at Northlake Mall to steal more than $1,000 worth of merchandise.
WBTV spoke with Andy Ellen, President of the North Carolina Retail Merchant’s Association, Thursday night. Ellen explained that thieves have become more advanced when it comes to sealing from retail stores.
"This is not the child shoplifting of a candy bar or a pair of sunglasses. These are organized gangs that are often times shoplifting and hurting us all in all of our communities," said Ellen.
He said retail theft can impact consumers when businesses need to make up for lost profits.
"The average price of a shoplifting is about $600 per trip right now. That all gets put back in the cost of a shirt or a bicycle or a TV so we're all paying the price for these illegitimate and illegal activities," explained Ellen.
He advised consumers to be weary of any items being sold online at prices that seems too good to be true. He said it is not uncommon for items to be stolen and resold online.