Suspected Shoplifters Lead Cops on Chase

Thieves are "not your average shoplifters" officials said

A group of shoplifters took $2,000-worth of clothing from stores in Fashion Valley mall before leading San Diego police on a chase through Mission Valley officials said.

Five suspects took off after taking several loads of merchandise from several stores located on Friars Road at about 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to the San Diego Police Department.

Police attempted to pull over the suspects' vehicle, but the driver fled, leading officers on a pursuit.

One suspect then got out of the car and police chased the man back into the mall.

Officers on air and on foot searched for the suspect in the mall and surrounding areas. Three people were arrested. Two remain outstanding.

Police believe the same suspects are responsible for shoplifting the same Hollister store the last three consecutive Tuesdays.

"They're sophisticated crews. They're not your average shoplifters," said Lt. Paul Rorrison with San Diego police.

"They work in conjunction with numerous people at one time, doing counter surveillance, diversionary tactics, attempting to defeat security."

A booster crew sends members into stores with lined shopping bags and tools to strip the sensors Rorrison said.

Mall authorities alerted police to the apparent trend prior to Tuesday's shoplifting. Stores had been targeted for three consecutive weeks with each theft happening on a Tuesday.

Police stood by as the suspects took five loads of clothes into their car and then fled.

The so-called booster crew took merchandise from Bloomingdales, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Hollister.

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