Arrests made in multi-state theft ring

Posted at 1:42 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 16:57:44-04

Authorities have made arrests in a major theft ring operating in San Diego County, throughout California and in two other states.

Authorities announced Wednesday that simultaneous search warrants were served in south San Diego, Chula Vista and Lake Elsinore, resulting in the arrest of four people.

Investigators said the theft ring was led by Lorena Ramirez and Zakharias Karasoulas, and the pair are personally responsible for stealing more than $700,000 worth of merchandise since 2011.

Dion Karasoulas and Mario Espinoza were also arrested, and they are accused of stealing from Hollister, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria's Secret stores. During the arrests, detectives also found more than $12,000 in new merchandise, all of it with the tags still on.

Following the November 2015 theft at a Victoria's Secret store at Otay Ranch Center, Chula Vista police provided 10News with surveillance video of the heist. In the video, two men are clearly seen swooping into the store and swiping 250 panties from the store's front counters. The loss for the store in the November heist was $4,000.

Five months later, in April, the same store was hit again. Chula Vista police said a man stole 70 bras worth $3,500.

In both cases, the thieves got away.

Authorities have not confirmed if the thieves in the Otay Ranch Center robberies were among the four people arrested by deputies.

Investigators said with the arrests, they were able to close 11 cases in three states and five California counties.

Authorities noted that several other similar cases are still under investigation.