Thieves using Bluetooth technology executed a well-planned heist Sunday and made off with 80 pairs of Levi’s jeans from the East Towne Mall JC Penney.
The police report said similar thefts have occurred at other JC Penney stores throughout the Midwest.
Madison police are calling this a sophisticated, organized operation. They are aware of these types of organized thefts happening in the Madison area. However, this is the first time they have seen Bluetooth technology used to facilitate the crime.
The Madison Police Department said four suspects entered the store using different entrances. One suspect took the jeans into the fitting rooms to remove the sensor tags while another waited outside the room.
Using a cart brought in from Kohl’s, the suspects were able to make off with an entire table of jeans valued at $4,500.
Joel DeSpain, spokesperson for MPD, said large-volume retail theft happens from time to time in Madison, but the merchandise usually leaves the area fairly quickly.
“When we’re talking about this kind of volume the suspects are likely moving it somewhere else to sell it,” he said. “Are they taking them out of the country and selling them in Mexico or somewhere else? We just don’t know.”
DeSpain pointed out other incidents where large amounts of merchandise have been stolen from a Madison store.
On Aug. 18, 2009 two male suspects stole 500 pair of women’s underwear valued at $8,000 from the East Towne Victoria’s Secret. Other incidents have involved jewelry and electronics.
“We have seen occasions where people are a part of a theft ring,” DeSpain said. “I wouldn’t call it common, but Madison is a central point on the interstate along the way between Minneapolis and Chicago.”
One suspect is described as a Hispanic Male, 25-35 years old, 5’8” and 170 pounds with black hair. He was wearing a dark coat, blue jeans and a Bluetooth phone piece in his right ear. The other was a Hispanic Male, 25-35 years old, 5’10” and 170 pounds. He was wearing sunglasses, a black coat and a skullcap.
The other two suspects could not be found on the video surveillance, but the JC Penney Loss Prevention Department continues to review the tapes.