Over the course of the past two months, the Jackson Premium Outlets has been a target for professional shoplifting rings. Identifying this problem, the agency set up daily proactive details consisting of plain clothes patrol officers and members of the SEU to be at the outlets in attempt to both prevent and apprehend these subjects.
Due to efforts by multiple jurisdictions, and our detective bureau along with the help of Loss Prevention specialists, an out of state professional shoplifting group was identified. This ring out of Baltimore, Maryland was reportedly responsible for numerous acts of shoplifting in several surrounding states. The group had been responsible for almost $60,000.00 in stolen items from Jackson Premium Outlets alone.
On October 29th, P.O. Scheuerman and P.O. Collins were assigned to this detail with the information received that the suspects may be in our area on this date. During the course of the detail, the suspect vehicle was positively identified by officers. The vehicle was occupied with (4) people at the time. Officers contacted the SEU and advised them of their observations. Det. Purtell, and Det. D.Thomason of the SEU, along with P.O. Cocchiara promptly responded to the outlets along with other uniformed personnel. Units were strategically placed around the area and suspect vehicle in effort to effect the apprehension and minimize any attempt of fleeing. Upon exiting the Under Armour store officers confronted members of the ring, who promptly tried to evade officers by either running away or physically trying to resist officer’s efforts. One of the females, during the course of fleeing from officers, assaulted a Good Samaritan who was trying to assist law enforcement by trying to stop a suspect from getting away.
All four suspects were successfully apprehended by officers and transported the police department for processing. The vehicle they were operating was towed from the scene and transported to headquarters where SEU would be making application for a search warrant for said vehicle.
Anthony Jones, D’Arnajai Raheem, Shontaz Wingate and Veronica Motes were all charged with the following:
• Organized Retail Theft Enterprise Shoplifting
• Hindering Apprehension
In addition Veronica Motes was also charged with Robbery.
All four subjects were subsequently lodged at Ocean County Jail in lieu of their charges.