A sharp-eyed Victoria's Secret worker at Stanford Shopping Center on Thursday helped to nab two people from southern California who police say stole $18,000 worth of merchandise from various stores in an organized retail theft operation.
Shoplifting is considered "organized retail theft" under California penal code when merchandise is stolen from one or more retailers with the intent to sell, exchange or return the merchandise for value.
Palo Alto police at 6:43 p.m. on Feb. 10 received a call reporting in-progress shoplifting at the Victoria's Secret store at the shopping center at 180 El Camino Real, according to a department press release.
A store employee told police a man was stuffing merchandise down his pants to conceal it as he appeared to shop with a female accomplice.
Police said the pair then left the store without paying for the items and went to their vehicle. A store employee followed them.
Police officers were able to detain the pair, a 59-year-old man from Van Nuys and 62-year-old woman from North Hollywood, in their vehicle without incident.
Investigators determined the man shoplifted more than $500 worth of bras from Victoria's Secret.
Following a search of the vehicle, police located several trash bags filled with suspected stolen property. Police said there were almost 400 separate pieces of name-brand clothing from Express, Hollister and J. Crew valued at more than $18,000 recovered.
Investigators are still working to determine where and when most of the clothing was stolen but have confirmed some was taken from a Victoria's Secret in Fresno on Feb. 8.
The pair were arrested on suspicion of organized retail theft, felony possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools, according to police. The penalty for one count of organized retail theft is one year in county jail, according to California penal code.
Editor's Note: Palo Alto Online's policy is to withhold the names of those arrested for most crimes until the District Attorney has determined there is sufficient evidence to file charges in the case. See our guidelines here.