International theft ring intercepted by Bellevue police
Jun 2, 2023, 11:02 AM | Updated: 3:35 pm
(Photo courtesy of Bellevue Police Department)
Bellevue police officers have recovered thousands of dollars in merchandise after arresting three suspects in an international organized theft ring.
The three suspects, ages 18, 22, and 27, were arrested outside Bellevue Square on May 20 after security officers caught them stealing, according to the police report.
Detectives said two of the suspects tried to get away but were quickly caught.
Investigators believe the three are part of an organized retail theft ring originating in Bogota, Colombia, and operating out of Los Angeles, California.
“After we served a search warrant, we recovered some forged documentation for certification from Colombia, as well as just an enormous amount of merchandise that had been stolen from not just from our city, but from all over the area,” Major David Sanabria with Bellevue Police told KIRO Newsradio.
The trio is linked to crimes along Interstate 5 up and down the West Coast and is suspected of stealing more than $76,000 of merchandise in the Bellevue area since March, according to investigators.
“California, Oregon, Washington … [they were] just very active,” Sanabria said. “Over several months, [detectives] built an investigation, got some videos and photos” from each crime.
The suspects would target high-end stores in the area, including the Bellevue Collection and Bellevue Square, using foiled-lined shopping bags that were used to hide stolen items while blocking anti-theft sensors.
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Following their arrest, the suspects were booked into jail, but were later released. The King County Prosecutor’s Office is reviewing formal charges.