Two people from Merced were arrested this week after they were caught walking out of the Manteca Kohl location with nearly $3,200 worth of merchandise they didn’t pay for.
While they had managed to get two shopping carts out of the store, they were unaware that Manteca Police Detective Dave Brown – who is tasked with dealing with organized theft in the community – was sitting in the parking lot waiting.
Tyrus McGhee, 22, and Corryn Graves, 39, both of Merced, were jailed in San Joaquin County Jail for misdemeanor organized retail, burglary, robbery, possession of stolen property, possession of narcotics and violation of probation.
And although they were caught in the act at Kohls, they had made previous saves earlier in the day.
According to Manteca police, a search of their vehicle uncovered more than $2,000 in stolen items from Big Lots and Harbor Freight in Tracy prior to their arrival in Manteca. During questioning, the two suspects reportedly admitted to being involved in organized retail crime over the past year and targeting Kohl’s, JCPenney, Lowe’s, Walmart and Ross several times a week.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that Grave’s driver’s license had been suspended for 10 years, which resulted in the towing of the vehicle they were using during the crime spree. McGhee was also found to be on probation for conspiracy.
While organized retail crime has increased in Northern California in recent years — prompting some retailers like Apple to send off-duty police officers to their sites to thwart would-be thieves — the practice has far-reaching implications that affect all consumers.
The cost of goods that are often stolen are factored into the price of other items, making them more expensive for law-abiding citizens to make up the difference.
Rather than waiting to respond to crimes as they occurred, the Manteca Police Department made the unique decision to be proactive and work to identify those responsible so that future crimes can be prevented. . When Detective Dave Brown was assigned to the project, he began building relationships with various retailers’ loss prevention teams, and the communication led to multiple arrests since the practice was set up.
To contact journalist Jason Campbell, email [email protected] or call 209.249.3544.