Two FL men caught with more than $26,000 in shoplifted goods
If convicted, the men face up to 10 years in the state penitentiary. (Photo source: Jackson County)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -
Two men accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise won't be bonding out of jail any time soon.
When Jackson County deputies pulled over an SUV along I-10 for a tag violation, they made a surprising discovery inside the vehicle — clothes, purses, shoes and electronics — all stolen.
"As we finally got the tally on it from the various stores, it was over $26,000 worth of stolen shoplifted merchandise," said Sheriff Mike Ezell.
Lauro Mesa, 26, and 27-year-old Alfredo Cruz-Gomez, both of Tampa, FL, were charged in Jackson County with receiving stolen property. Authorities say the pair is also wanted in connection with shoplifting in D'Iberville and Gulfport; as well as in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.
"A lot of times they work in teams," said Sheriff Ezell. "You'd be surprised at the way that they are able to conceal some of this merchandise, clothing. They'll go in these various clothing rooms and conceal it and hide it."
When stores are hit with huge losses, Ezell says it's the honest customers who suffer.
"It's not really as uncommon as you might think. There are people who are professional shoplifters. We've dealt with them over the years," Sheriff Ezell said. "It's been awhile since we've made an arrest with this much stolen merchandise, but it does happen. The bad thing about this is when these kinds of things are going on. So much theft. It's passed on to the consumer."
Although Mesa and Cruz-Cruz are the only suspects in custody so far, Ezell says he doubts the due was working alone.
If convicted of receiving stolen property, Cruz- Gomez and Mesa face up to 10 years in the state penitentiary.