Three Houstonians are accused of doing something at Toys ‘R Us that doesn't have anything to do with fun and games. It actually has a lot to do with accused criminals, cameras and an entire crime ring.
These three people were busted allegedly taking part in an elaborate theft ring at Toys ‘R Us, of all places.
Investigators say these two women and one man would load up a shopping cart and simply walk out of the store but that is actually just the beginning. The major theft ring here in Houston was draining big bucks from area Toys ‘R Us stores. "Tens of thousands of dollars," explains Sara Kinney with the Harris County District Attorney's Office. Investigators say at least three criminals were posing as customers. "They were stealing all types of goods, nothing in particular. They would return them for gift cards. They would say it was part of a gift registry, then they would buy electronics," says Kinney.
According to the Harris County District Attorney's Office Donna Jo Trevino, Karen Shed and Eduardo Zamora were then taking those stolen electronics and selling them on the street. "It was going on for about a year," says Kinney.
Trevino, Shed and Zamora have made their initial court appearances. They are each charged with Organized Retail Theft. While it seems the alleged crime was going on for a long time, some of that was actually investigators building their case and catching the accused criminals in action on camera. "We have video surveillance of the defendants going past all check points of sale and taking the goods without paying. We also have them returning to the store and getting return receipts and gift cards," says Kinney.
Prosecutors say they have video of the accused thieves then using those gift cards to buy the electronics which they would then supposedly sell on the street. The D.A.'s office says more people may also be part of the ring.
While some stores return policy will only allow a certain amount of returns within a particular time frame, Toys ‘R Us does not, and investigators say the three accused took advantage of that.
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