Retail theft sting nabs 4 alleged thieves; police say they are foreigners who had been deported once before

News & Politics

A police sting in southern California led to the arrest of four foreign suspects who were caught on video apparently engaging in retail theft.

The Pasadena Police Department said in a press release that police were nearing the end of their sting on Sept. 8 when they began monitoring four individuals at a Macy’s in the South Lake shopping district.

“Detectives closely monitored four individuals who were methodically choosing high value clothing items,” the release said.

Video obtained by WABC-TV showed police surveillance video of three suspects stealing clothing from the Macy’s while one suspect was on the lookout.

The four left the store without paying for the items, according to the release.

Police said they were able to apprehend three of the suspects, but one was able to run to a vehicle and attempt to escape. He allegedly drove the vehicle in the direction of an officer before nearly crashing. That fourth suspect was also arrested.

The suspects were identified as Vasile Alberto Balan, Mihaela Simion, Cosmin Cismarv, and Sorin Marin Stefan. They were all charged with grand theft.

Pasadena PD Lt. Carolyn Gordon said that officers suspect the theft ring was involved with many other incidents.

“We know these subjects are involved in numerous crimes throughout California and Las Vegas,” she said. “At this time, there’s more than 15 crimes that we know about.”

Police said the four had been deported previous to the arrests.

“A lot of crews will come in on visas,” said Det. Erick Urquieta. “This group came from Romania, and with these visas, they’re usually obtained through fraudulent means, and then they conduct their crimes.”

Other law enforcement agencies are planning to file charges against the suspects for crimes they allegedly committed in other counties.

Gordon said the arrests should serve as a warning to others planning retail theft in the city.

“We’re gonna continue to do programs like this to let suspects and to let criminals know they’re not wanted in Pasadena,” she continued. “And if they come to Pasadena, they’ll be arrested.”

Here’s a local news report about the incident:

4 suspects from Romania arrested during organized retail theft operation in

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