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Local theft ring getting international attention

SAPD, Homeland Security collaborating large-scale organized retail theft ring

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SAN ANTONIO – A theft ring here in San Antonio is now getting the attention of international investigators.

The San Antonio Police Department and Homeland Security are collaborating on an investigation of what they now believe is large-scale organized retail theft ring.

This week, five women were arrested that were believed to be part of the ring.

"There was a half-million dollars in stolen merchandise and enough stolen property to fill a large truck," said Chief William McManus.

Police said four of the women Emily Garcia, 26, Cassandra Arenas, 23, Eva Salazar, 48, Christian Salazar, 28 would target local stores like, Victoria's Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch, taking more than 200 pairs of women's underwear and dozens of bottles of fragrance.

"They usually worked in groups and they used devices to bypass the security measures," said Daniel Anders, an investigator with the San Antonio Police Department. "It's what we call booster bags."

Police said the women would bring the stolen items to the home of Piedad Perez, 32, who resold the merchandise on Ebay.

Upon their arrests, police not only recovered a large amount of cash, they also found fake immigration and travel documents.

Homeland Security Deputy Special Agent in Charge Vincent Iglio said the evidence led investigators to believe that the suspects were working with people in other countries, including Australia and Canada.

"We'll look into their activities of basically stealing things around the world, high end jewelry thefts, bringing it into the San Antonio area," said Iglio. "Based on what we see already, they are probably smuggling these items out of the United States."

The five women face charges of organized retail theft. However, Iglio said this is just the beginning and that investigators have been tracking the suspects' international travel. he said they expect more arrests in the case.

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