Suspected shoplifting ring busted in Rehoboth Beach

Pictured is merchandise that state police allege was shoplifted in Rehoboth Beach and recovered during an investigation of the suspects. (Submitted photo/Delaware State Police)

Pictured is merchandise that state police allege was shoplifted in Rehoboth Beach and recovered during an investigation of the suspects. (Submitted photo/Delaware State Police)

REHOBOTH BEACH — Delaware State Police said Friday five people were arrested in connection with an alleged organized shoplifting ring after being caught with items from various outlet stores.

Authorities said the alleged incident began at approximately 1:30 p.m. Tuesday with a report of a suspicious vehicle parked in the parking lot of Seaside Outlets on Seaside Outlet Drive with suspects possibly shoplifting items from stores.

Troopers arrived and saw a red Chevrolet car that matched the description given to the dispatcher.

Troopers then confronted the four occupants of the vehicle and observed several bags of suspected merchandise in the rear seat, state police said.

A search of the vehicle allegedly located stolen property from several retail establishments in the Seaside and Bayside Outlets including Express, Nike, J. Crew, Under Armor, Orvis, Sperry, American Eagle, Nautica and Pacific Sunwear, state police said.

Troopers also found three metal wire-cutting instruments they said are used to break the anti-theft devices attached to the merchandise as well as items of drug paraphernalia.

Four suspects were charged with possession of shoplifter tools (felony), theft — organized retail crime over $1,500 (felony), second-degree conspiracy, nine counts of shoplifting under $1,500 and possession of drug paraphernalia.

They are:

• Tiffany A. Barnes, 24, of Blades.

• Amber R. Smith, 32, of Blades.

• Tyler Floyd, 23, of Blades.

• David A. Floyd, 46, of Blades.

All four were arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 2 and remanded to the Delaware Department of Correction on $12,400 secured bond.

The total value of the items recovered was more than $2,600.

According to police, further investigation found the defendants allegedly would return to their residence in Blades where Jorge Ruiz, 53, of Blades, would purchase the stolen merchandise in return for a deduction in their rent.

Police said Mr. Ruiz then allegedly would resell the items to other people who would frequent the residence.

A search warrant was conducted on the house located in the 300 block of South Cannon Street, where Mr. Ruiz was taken into custody without incident, police said.

Troopers recovered additional items totaling more than $4,600 along with more than $1,400 in suspected proceeds from the sales.

Mr. Ruiz was charged with theft — organized retail crime over $1,500 (felony) and second-degree conspiracy.

He was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 2 and released after posting $5,000 secured bond.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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