Police nab alleged Target shoplifter

A 21-year-old man who prompted an extensive police search after a robbery at Sears last week was arrested Monday after trying to steal jeans and shoes from Target, police said.

Personnel from Target’s loss prevention spotted the man, Jairo Ramirez — whom they recognized from previous thefts and a robbery — in the store Monday morning trying to steal $159 worth of merchandise, said Glendale Police Sgt. York Tsuruta of the Downtown Policing Unit.

Target personnel immediately notified Glendale police, who surrounded the store’s exits and arrested him.

Ramirez “is a chronic offender for shoplifting,” he said.

Target personnel and police had been looking for Ramirez after he tried swiping $780 worth in shirts, socks, underwear, food and toiletries on Nov. 28, dumped the items and fled to Sears, he said.

Calls to Target’s loss prevention personnel weren’t returned Tuesday.

While Ramirez was inside Sears, loss-prevention workers stopped him and another man after watching them steal watches, cologne and jeans, police said. But Ramirez refused to talk to them, a struggle ensued, and he ran away.

A Glendale police helicopter and K-9 units searched the area for Ramirez and the other man, but did not find them.

Retailers have reported in increase in aggressive behavior among shoplifters nationwide, according to the National Retail Federation.

Police are still looking for the other man from the Sears incident, Tsuruta said. Ramirez worked alone in the Target thefts, he added.

Ramirez told police he frequently stole from Target and had another $300 worth of merchandise stashed in friends’ homes, Tsuruta said.

Ramirez showed police a large scar on his torso, which Tsuruta said he claimed was the result of being shot by alleged gang members.

He was likely stealing the items so he could sell them on the street for less and make money, Tsuruta added.

Thieves can get up to 30% of the items’ retail value on the street, according to the retail industry advocacy group.

Some thieves, Tsuruta said, take advantage of the holiday shopping season by targeting distracted shoppers and busy stores.

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