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Retail store uses hidden GPS to track shoplifters

Deputies catch women with bags of clothes
Posted: 6:34 PM, Jul 28, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-28 18:34:44-04
Three Tampa women were pulled over with garbage bags full of stolen clothes on Tuesday.
 
The Pasco Sheriff’s office said the ladies shoplifted some of their clothing from Saks off 5th Avenue at the Tampa Premium Outlet.
 
But what the women didn’t know is one of the items had an anti-theft GPS tracker hidden inside.
 
Store security put it there and helped deputies catch up with the car load of loot 14 miles away at State Road 52 and US 41.
 
The suspects arrested are Toccara Marlesha, Ayanna Michelle Palacio, and Sharhonda LaShawn Pedroso.
 
“Obviously criminals are going to be innovative whenever they are committing crimes, so we have to be innovative in catching these crimes and arresting the criminals,” said Sgt. Richard Jones.
 
While Saks didn’t give us any details of how its security works, we found similar GPS systems offering protection for retail stores.
 
If the detectors are moved outside of a safe area, they switch to a panic mode, letting security know stolen merchandise is on the move.
 
“It should be a deterrent. You never know if what you are taking could have GPS trackers in it. I can tell you they are not very big. They are not very noticeable,” said Jones.
 
In this week’s case, deputies went back to Saks and checked surveillance footage.
 
They said you can see two of the women stuffing clothing in a specially modified bag designed to shield electronic security tags.
 
They then ran out of the store before anyone could stop them.
 
Investigators said they took about $1500 worth of clothing.
 
A third woman is accused of driving the getaway car.
 
All of the women already had felony arrest warrants for shoplifting around Tampa Bay.
 
Deputies say they also found clothing and other items likely stolen from Hollister and Pacific Sunwear stores. 
 
So more charges could be coming.