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FCPD: Two people arrested in Tysons for retail theft spree

Tysons Corner Center (file photo)

Police arrested two people over the weekend for allegedly stealing merchandise worth thousands of dollars from Tysons Corner Center and Fair Oaks Mall.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, detectives with its Tysons Urban Team (TUT), which focuses on retail theft and other mall-related crimes, received an alert at 1:07 p.m. on Saturday (May 11) that a “retail theft crew” had been spotted at Fair Oaks Mall (11750 Fair Oaks Mall).

“After committing a larceny at Fair Oaks Mall, the crew traveled to the 1900 block of Chain Bridge Road in Tysons where additional larcenies were committed,” the FCPD said yesterday (Monday) in a news release.

Two individuals — a 56-year-old man from New York and a 43-year-old woman from New Jersey — were located and arrested, but one person fled the scene, the police department said. The person who fled has been identified as a 45-year-old woman from New York. She’s now wanted for conspiracy to commit larceny, though detectives are in the process of obtaining additional warrants.

Police uncovered over $15,000 of stolen merchandise in a search of a vehicle used by the group, according to the FCPD, which says the trio have been linked to five larcenies since February, including the two on Saturday that led to the arrests.

Four of the incidents occurred in Tysons, where larcenies were previously reported on Feb. 24, March 23 and April 13. In total, the “spree” involved the theft of $27,000 worth of merchandise, police said.

The New York man has been charged with four counts each of grand larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny and larceny with intent to sell, and one count of possession of a burglarious tool. The New Jersey woman faces five counts each for the same larceny charges and a count of possession of a burglarious tool.

Both of the arrested suspects are in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center with no bond.

The arrests came a day after the FCPD reported that a different “retail theft crew” had been taken into custody at Tysons Corner Center after $24,000 worth of merchandise was found in their vehicle. The goods mostly consisted of underwear stolen from Victoria’s Secret in Prince William County, police said.

Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis told the Board of Supervisors this spring that larcenies and thefts increased in 2023 compared to 2022. The FCPD took steps to crack down on retail theft last year, including by enhancing the presence of officers at local malls, “in response to a nationwide surge in organized retail crime since 2021,” the department said in its annual report for 2023.

However, actual data on retail theft in the U.S. is limited and unreliable. The Council of Criminal Justice found shoplifting incidents did spike in some cities, particularly New York City and Los Angeles, since the pandemic began, but most cities reported decreases compared to 2019.

In December, the National Retail Federation retracted an earlier claim that attributed nearly half of the $94.5 billion in losses reported by retail stores in 2021 to “organized retail theft” after Retail Dive questioned the accuracy of the widely cited statistic. At least one economist estimated that organized groups are likely responsible for just 5% of lost merchandise.