Two suspects have been arrested after months of stealing from Walmart stores in several western states, Mesa Police Department said.
Mary Garcia, 47, and Melinda Rodriguez, 38, were arrested June 17 and face numerous counts of organized retail theft, police said.
The investigation began in March 2021 when Walmart Loss Prevention noticed a series of suspicious transactions involving an in-store scanning app. The suspects would enter the stores and scan the items using a smart phone in order to use the quick pay at the checkout. The problem was once they reached the checkout, payment was bypassed and they walked out with the unpaid merchandise. By using the app, the suspects gave the appearance that they were paying for the items, police said.
Working with Walmart Loss Prevention, the suspects were tracked using the same tactic for thefts in Arizona, California, Utah, Colorado and Texas. In Maricopa County alone, Garcia was responsible for approximately $72,000 and Rodriguez approximately $34,000 in stolen items.
“Thanks to the strong partnership between Walmart and the Mesa Police Department, thefts like this are not overlooked,” according to a post at MPD’s crime blog. “Thefts of this type can cause retailers to raise prices to compensate for loss. By arresting thieves who steal large amounts of merchandise, prices are kept at bay for the everyday honest consumer.”