Three suspects were arrested after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from a Camarillo mall.
The suspects were identified as Oxnard residents:
-Carlos Hernandez, 25
-Moises Lopez, 22
-Roberto Gomez, 30
On Nov. 27, deputies attempted to pull over the suspects’ vehicle for an equipment violation. Hernandez and Lopez were inside the car and refused to yield, leading officers on a pursuit, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
During the chase, the suspects ran multiple stop signs, drove at dangerous speeds and recklessly darted across lanes. They eventually got caught in heavy traffic and were unable to escape.
As the car stopped, the passenger, Hernandez, hopped out and began running towards the Camarillo Premium Outlets mall.
The driver, Lopez, remained at the scene and was taken into custody. During a search of the suspects’ car, officers discovered a large amount of stolen merchandise from nearby retailers. Many articles of clothing were found with the security devices still attached.
Photos from the bust showed a collection of pricey baseball caps along with a variety of athletic wear including puffer jackets, sweaters, sports tees, beanies and sneakers from Nike, New Balance, Adidas and more.
Authorities estimated the stolen items to be worth around $5,000. Many of the items were taken from shops at the Camarillo mall. The merchandise was later returned to the retailers.
Additional items stolen from businesses outside of Camarillo were also found and booked as evidence.
Hernandez was arrested on charges of organized retail theft and resisting a peace officer. He was booked at the Ventura County Jail and is being held on $45,000 bail. At the time of his arrest, he was out on bail for a separate organized retail theft charge from October.
Lopez was arrested on charges of organized retail theft and felony reckless evading. He was booked at the Ventura County Jail where he is being held on $50,000 bail. Both suspects are awaiting a future trial date.
Detectives later gathered evidence that was additional evidence at Lopez’s home and place of work. On Dec. 1, authorities served a search warrant at both locations including at a barbershop on the 500 Block of South A Street in Oxnard where Lopez was employed.
While searching the barbershop, detectives detained a third suspect, Roberto Gomez, who was found in possession of an unregistered firearm and cocaine. Additional evidence was found indicating Gomez “possessed the cocaine for sales.”
Gomez was prohibited from possessing a firearm at the time and was arrested for violations of possessing of a controlled substance and firearm, being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, and carrying a loaded frearm in public. He is being held on $50,000 bail and awaiting trial.
Officials said organized retail theft crews will commonly work together with several moving parts to steal merchandise from businesses.
One member may act as a lookout while the others steal items and conceal them in booster bags, children’s strollers, or on their person.
The crews often steal multiple sizes of the same item to resell for profit through social media or on resale marketplaces such as OfferUp, Poshmark, eBay, Craigslist and more.
“Not only do organized retail theft crews cause billions of dollars in losses to retailers nationwide, but they also pose a threat to customers and employees of the business,” deputies said. “There has been an increase in violent incidents involving organized retail theft crews throughout the nation.”