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Tucson police bust organized retail crime ring

Published: Jun. 23, 2015 at 9:08 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 at 5:17 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - After months of investigating, Tucson police arrested five people who were allegedly part of an organized retail crime ring.

Undercover investigators identified and arrested:

  • Richard Godoy, 24
  • Felipe Godoy, 27
  • Elizabeth Godoy, 38
  • Guadalupe Suttle, 26
  • Alexis Balbastro, 18

According to police, the group is accused of shoplifting in different stores around Tucson. After visiting big-box stores like Kohl's, JCPenney or Target, group members would then allegedly pawn their stolen merchandise or return them to the store for a refund.

Among the stolen goods were shoes, designer sunglasses and bags.

Officials said the bust was made possible because police departments around the city worked together.

Detectives from Tucson, Oro Valley and Marana police departments had all been monitoring the group since December 2014, including putting them under surveillance for 10 days.

Stores lost thousands of dollars as a result of the thefts.

"Luckily, we were able to watch them, watch their movements, and at some point in time take them down," TPD Det. Olga Ramirez said.

Organized retail theft has exploded in southern Arizona, and the number one reason behind it is drugs, officials said.

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