OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Three Oakland sisters have been charged with running a retail theft ring that involved selling more than $300,000 worth of merchandise that had been stolen from stores at the Southland Mall in Hayward and elsewhere, police and prosecutors said.
The suspected stolen items from 18 different stores were recovered when officers served search warrants at the sisters’ Oakland homes last month, according to Hayward police.READ MORE: San Francisco Judge Exonerates Man Who Spent 46 Years In Prison
Sisters Jessenia Rodriguez, 24, Jessica Rodriguez, 27, and Norma Rodriguez, 33, were arrested on Dec. 18, the same day the search warrants were served.
When the sisters were interviewed, they admitted operating the illegal business, according to police.
The sisters were charged on Jan. 14 with felony counts of organized retail theft in concert with two more people, directing organized retail theft and receiving stolen property.
The Rodriguez sisters, who are free on $50,000 bail, pleaded not guilty when they were arraigned last Friday and are scheduled to return to court on March 24 for a pretrial hearing.
Hayward police said that early last summer, retail stores at the Southland Mall asked for their help in curtailing a growing number of grab-and-run thefts that were causing them to lose money.
In some cases, the suspects also assaulted employees during the thefts, according to authorities.READ MORE: Wells Fargo Bank Robbed At Stonestown Galleria Mall in San Francisco
Hayward police said after they stepped up their presence at the mall, the number of grab-and-run thefts decreased and one store even said it hasn’t had a grab-and-run since the increase in police presence.
The Rodriguez sisters acted in concert with several theft crews and knowingly purchased large quantities of stolen property that was sold to hundreds of customers for profit, Hayward police Detective Matthew McMahon wrote in a probable cause statement.
The sisters requested specific items through text messages, in person or through Facebook messages, McMahon wrote.
The sisters even sold items in the back and side yards at their Oakland homes, which were converted into store areas complete with weather protection, clothing racks, shelving, lighting, heating, glass display cases, shopping bags and pay ledgers, according to McMahon.
Jessenia and Jessica Rodriguez operated a store at their home in the 1900 block of 90th Avenue and Norma Rodriguez operated a store at her home in the 1500 block of 78th Avenue, McMahon wrote.
Hayward police said surveillance footage revealed that entire families purchased the stolen merchandise, which was sold with a huge discount.
Among the stores in different cities that were targeted were Macy’s, Target, JCPenney, Home Depot, Victoria’s Secret, Ulta Beauty and American Eagle.MORE NEWS: Storm Fronts March Through Bay Area; Massive Tree Topples In San Francisco Neighborhood
Hayward police said Oakland and San Jose police helped them in their investigation.