Suspects charged in Pleasant Prairie Outlet Mall theft

NOW: Suspects charged in Pleasant Prairie Outlet Mall theft

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Nearly $20,000 worth of merchandise was stolen from Pleasant Prairie Outlet Mall Saturday, October 28th.

Police say it was a well organized crime carried out by five people who are now charged.

Police say the suspects hit 16 stores at the Pleasant Prairie Mall. But, it was what was found with the stolen merchandise that makes the case interesting.

Yaid Rodriguez, Tara Brown, Leah Walls, Paola Peralta, and Zaida Rendon made their first court appearance in Kenosha County Court Thursday.

They’re all accused of stealing things like North Face jackets and handbags from the mall.

“Through the help of security and a couple different stores we were able to pinpoint a vehicle that was being used,” says Pleasant Prairie Chief of Police David Smetana.

This however was not your typical clothing theft. The suspects came prepared with what police are calling booster bags. It helped them get in and out of stores with stolen merchandise without being detected.

“They’re lined with a type of material or foil that’ll prevent electronic signals going through,” explains MATC criminal justice professor, Richard Cole. “It’s like they’re sneaking right past.”

Police describe the crime as sophisticated based on the tools and planning.

“The ways they worked with each other,” says Smetana. “They worked very closely with each other; they communicated so they obviously had done this before.”

Police say these booster bags look just like ordinary handbags so the crimes are hard to prevent.

“We’ve experienced this before but not to this level,” says Smetana.

Police say as we get into the busy holiday shopping season, shoppers should be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to a store manager or police.

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