An alleged shoplifter in Southern California is accused of lifting more than 2,300 items worth over $300,000 from multiple high-end stores, authorities said.
Ekaterina Zharkova, 38, allegedly used special tools to disarm security sensors at Gucci, Prada, Jimmy Choo and other retailers, the California Highway Patrol Border Division’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force said in a press release, The Orange County Register reported.
On Nov. 23, detectives tailed Zharkova as she went into Nordstrom Rack in Costa Mesa and allegedly pinched around $3,500 worth of items before leaving. They then executed a search warrant at Zharkova’s property and found “stolen merchandise packed wall to wall in every room,” including racks full of clothing, CPH said.
Investigators believe Zharkova intended to sell online the allegedly pilfered products that totaled $328,683.
According to court records, in September 2021, Zharkova entered a plea of not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possession of burglary tools as well as a felony grand theft charge.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom insisted thieves need to be arrested, prosecuted and held accountable for breaking the law amid his state grappling with a series of recent large-scale thefts.
"These are not victimless crimes, and I have no empathy for these criminal elements,” Newsom said, according to Fox News. “I want to see local efforts. I want to see them stepped up. Look at the laws. You have the ability. Stack repeat offenders and move to prosecute.”