Police are working to identify a shoplifting crew that filled up two shopping carts full of merchandise at a Target store in San Pedro and made off with the loot in a carefully orchestrated crime.
The entire crime - from entering the store to filling up the carts to speeding away in the parking lot - was captured by store surveillance cameras.
"I just need someone who can identify one or any or all of them," Los Angeles police Detective Don Eldridge said. "They hit another one in Hawthorne just before they hit that Target in Pedro."
The crime unfolded Jan. 21 at the store at 1701 N. Gaffey St. after two men and two women entered at 10:10 p.m. They looked like any shoppers: One woman wore black. The other wore a white jacket over a black shirt and pants. One of the men wore a baseball cap. The other appeared young and thin in a white long-sleeve shirt.
The video shows the women pulling out shopping carts and moving into the store. They fill the carts with dog food, men's clothing, children's games and toys, and other household goods.
About 40 minutes later, they headed to the cashier and loaded the merchandise onto the conveyor belt. Three stood nearby while the woman in black stood at the cashier's counter, waiting with her checkbook open for the clerk to finish scanning the items and packing them into plastic bags. It took several minutes to scan the merchandise.
All the while, the others loaded the filled bags into carts at the end of the cashier's booth.
When the clerk was done, she informed the woman in black of her total, $1,075.95. The woman in black wrote her check and handed it to the clerk, the police report said.
The clerk then turned to the register and inserted the check. It was declined.
Over the next couple of minutes, the clerk worked with the woman to try to figure out why the check did not clear. They both called a phone number to try to resolve the problem.
As the clerk's back was turned, the other thieves pushed the carts out of the store. The video surveillance shows them outside, pushing their carts like scooters through the parking lot to a sport utility vehicle.
"My husband can come back in to pay for this," the woman told the clerk.
At that point, the clerk cleared the next customer's items from the conveyor belt and moved them to another register.
The woman in black, meanwhile, left the store with a loss prevention worker to find her husband. According to the police report, she said, "My friends left me. They left me. I can't believe they left me."
She gave the store employee a description of a black Nissan Altima. But moments later, a tan 1994-1998 Chevrolet pulled up on the sidewalk on Gaffey Street north of Capitol Drive. The woman ran to it, jumped in and it took off. The vehicle went to a nearby 7-Eleven store before speeding away.
The woman at the counter was described as white, 55 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall and 200 pounds. She wore a black sweater and dark blue jeans. She had a red birthmark over her right eye.
Eldridge asked anyone with information about the group to call him at 310-726-7853.
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