Three "prolific retail thieves" were arrested for their role in a suspected organized retail theft ring that's accused of stealing $16,000 worth of merchandise, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
An investigator from L Brands, which owns the Victoria’s Secret and Pink brands, "among other stores, identified an organized theft crew who repeatedly victimized their stores throughout the west coast," the CHP posted on Facebook on Monday.
The crime ring is suspected of targeting retailers throughout several states. The suspects allegedly rented a car from the Bay Area on Thursday and drove "as far south as National City for the sole purpose of committing retail thefts," the CHP Facebook post continued.
They were seen at a variety of shopping malls and outlets, "all within a few hours," before "committing thefts at two Victoria’s Secret stores," according to the CHP.
Overall, the suspects stole nearly 330 items.
It wasn't long before the officers from the Carlsbad Police Department found what was believed to be the suspect's car near a mall in Carlsbad.
The suspects were taken into custody following an enforcement stop on Interstate 5. The stolen merchandise was found in the car, according to the CHP.
Although the suspects were arrested, officers are still investigating to "determine the full magnitude of this crime rings involvement in retail theft," the Facebook post read.
This is the latest in a string of organized crime rings that the CHP has investigated in recent months.
Overall, CHP officers have recovered more than $19 million in stolen merchandise after launching task forces around the state in 2019 to curb retail theft, which is costing retailers hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales.
According to the National Retail Federation's 2021 National Retail Security Survey, retailers lose an average of $700,000 per $1 billion in sales due to organized retail crime.