MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- A gang of makeup thieves is responsible for ripping off several drug stores of thousands of dollars in products around the Miami area, according to authorities.
An investigation by Miami-Dade Police's Organized Retail Crime Unit led to the arrests of four women, believed to part of a ring who would steal cosmetics from stores and sell them at far below retail cost.
On numerous occasions between April and July, sisters Crystal Pereda, 27, and Jazmin Pereda, 21, along with Jennifer Tejeda, 33, were observed walking into CVS and Walgreens stores in Miami and stuffing cosmetics into their purses, police said. Typically, each theft would range between $300 and $1,100 worth of stuff taken. They were seen driving in a black Chrysler 300.
During the course of the investigation, detectives also obtained a search warrant at the home of Ihosvania Guerra-Ferreiro, 50, located at 2800 S.W. 79th Court, whom they said acted as a "fencing operation" for the stolen products.
On August 1st, officers executed the search warrant and found 6,982 cosmetic items, valued at $69,368.63, inside the home.
"They go and sell to the lady fencing these items, purchasing them at $1 and $2 apiece," said Sgt. Carlos Rosario. "These items were low-risk and not expensive, selling for $5.99 to $12.99 so they were not tagged with sensors and can be easily put in purses."
A purchase was being made at the time between Guerra-Ferreiro and another woman who was buying lipstick for $2, an arrest report said. Guerra-Ferreiro confessed to charging roughly $1 or $2 for many of the products, a large mark-down. She was charged with dealing in stolen property.
The other three women were subsequently arrested and charged with multiple counts of grand theft. The Pereda sisters confessed in both verbal and written statements, police said. Tejeda invoked her Miranda rights.
Police added this kind of theft creates a snowball effect.
"This is very unfortunate for the local economy," said Sgt. Rosario. "People are going to stores and loading their bags with goods. What this does is inflate prices at the stores for goods, in this case cosmetics."
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