PITTSBURGH— A very naughty list is at the center of a three-state, 91-store shoplifting spree that landed three people behind bars in western Pennsylvania for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars in toys.
The thieves even checked the list twice – putting down two check marks next to the stores they hit twice, police said Wednesday.
Action figures, toy cars and dolls were among the items stolen, police said. Officials estimate the total haul at $35,000.
Representatives from three major retailers sifted through the merchandise that Ross Township police said they recovered packed tightly into a rented van when the trio was arrested November 16 outside a Kmart store where they allegedly swiped toys, baseball cards and Christmas items.
Theresa Lynn Warner and her fiance, Christopher Frances Dimaio, are charged with theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy. Warner’s juvenile son is also charged.
The Little Falls, N.Y. trio allegedly spent a week or more shoplifting from Walmart, Kmart and Toys R Us stores in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, keeping track of their progress on a nine-page list of stores and addresses.
When police opened the van, pilfered toys spilled on to the ground. The back of the rental van was stuffed to the roof, with cardboard lashed to the inside to hold the items in place, police said. Toys were even crammed in the van’s door panels.
The thieves even kept track of what they stole, according to Ross Township Sgt. Benjamin Dripps.
“The occasions to have documented evidence presented to us by the actors are few and far between, but we certainly are appreciative of it,” he said.
The trio planned to take their haul of plundered toys to flea markets to resell them, police said.
“We don’t have the storage space to house everything,” Dripps said.
Police expect retailers to take back much of the merchandise but any that’s left over could be donated to charity.
“I would love to put a positive spin on this and have many items go to worthy causes,” Dripps said.
Warner and Dimaio are each being held on $15,000 bail. Warner’s son is being held at a juvenile detention center. It was unclear if they had attorneys.