(Correction: This story mistakenly indicated an alleged theft worth $10 million. The correct amount was $10,000.)
Toms River police officers foiled an attempted heist of $10,000 in merchandise from the township’s Ulta beauty supply store Tuesday, nabbing suspects who they say may be responsible for similar thefts that have taken place in the tri-state area.
Officers arrived at 1:20 p.m. Tuesday, responding to the theft call, and learned that four suspects had fled the store on foot and entered a grey Mitsubishi with out-of-state license plates. Officers searched the area and ultimately found the vehicle in a parking lot a short distance from the original location. Four people matching the suspects’ description were standing outside of the vehicle, said police spokeswoman Jillian Messina.
When Officer Anthony Paciulli approached the group, they fled the scene disobeying the officer’s commands to stop, Messina said.
At that point, dispatchers were notified, and a number of additional units responded to the scene. A short distance from the initial stop, officers located and apprehended suspect Frank Greene, 22 of Bronx, N.Y. The officers also witnessed a male suspect enter a nearby home on Bay Avenue and located him in the basement of the residence. He refused officer’s commands to surrender and ran out through a rear door, the statement said, but additional officers who were waiting outside took the 17-year old suspect, also from The Bronx, into custody.
Two female suspects, identified as Shaquana John, 24 of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Sereniti Butler, 20 of Bronx, N.Y., were located in a wooded area near the scene. All four suspects were taken into custody within 24 minutes of the initial call.
In total, the list of proceeds, including a combination of cologne and security tags, was valued at approximately $9,221. Butler was charged with shoplifting, contempt/obstruction, and burglary. Greene and John were charged with shoplifting, and contempt/obstruction. The juvenile suspect was charged with shoplifting and burglary and released to his guardian.
The three adult suspects are currently lodged in Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
“This group may be involved in numerous other instances of this type in the tri-state area, and are currently being investigated by multiple agencies,” Messina said. “Chief Mitch Little would like to commend our officers for their quick response and apprehensions, as well as, their dedication and professionalism during this incident.”