Wallet thief suspect served time in 2011 for groping women

Theft happened at Walmart store on Eastlake Pkwy.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A man arrested for allegedly stealing a shopper's wallet at a local Walmart store is a registered sex offender and has a criminal past that involves convictions for groping women, domestic violence and drug trafficking.

Miguel Angel Malacara was taken into custody on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property. Police believe he is the one seen on surveillance video following a woman into a Walmart store at 1360 Eastlake Parkway, waiting for her to become distracted and then snagging her wallet. Police said Malacara, a parolee, was wearing a GPS tracking device.

Malacara was convicted in 2011 for over a dozen groping assaults on women pedestrians in the South Bay. In one instance, he bit a woman through her clothing. Investigators extracted DNA from that bite and matched it to Malacara, who had previously been convicted of drug trafficking in 2009. Malacara also has a domestic violence conviction on his record involving a former girlfriend.

As far as the theft at Walmart, police say they are concerned with the growing countywide trend of thieves targeting distracted shoppers in busy retail stores.

In this case, detectives believe the victim was specifically targeted because she had a young child with her and was carrying her purse in the shopping cart.

Anyone with further information on this case is asked to contact Chula Vista police Det. Scott Schneider at 619-407-3528 or the Chula Vista Police Department Tip Line at 619-422-TIPS.

Victim speaks out

She took her eye away for a second and her wallet was gone, but thankfully for Rachel, the thief wasn't too smart.

"We checked the GPS tracker from his ankle bracelet with his parole agent; confirmed he was in the store," said Schneider. "When they're dumb enough to do this while wearing a GPS ankle bracelet, it makes my job a lot easier."

"I feel lucky that my pocket was the only thing picked," said Rachel.

Police also found evidence of other crimes when they searched Malacara's car and home.

"We had at least five more victims that we identified, one of whom was also shopping at that same Walmart," said Schneider.

Malacara is expected to be arraigned next week.

Print this article Back to Top