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Phoenix police arrest family on organized retail theft charges

PHOENIX — Police have arrested a handful of members of a local family on charges that included organized retail theft, fraud, armed robbery and assault.

Phoenix police said a mother, two daughters, a son and a son-in-law were accused of stealing more than $15,000 worth of merchandise from Valley department stores.

Among the stores that have reported losses were Aeropostale, Dillard’s and Victoria Secrets.

The suspects — Jose Alvarez-Burgos, 23; Terri Yvette Vargas, 25; Lizzette Vargas, 27; Mario Vargas, 28; and Elizabeth Rodriguez-Alvarez, 48 — were taken into custody Friday.

Officer James Holmes said some of the stolen lingerie and other stolen items were traded for drugs while others were sold at yard sales.

Holmes said the investigation has extended to shoplifting thefts from stores in Flagstaff and Prescott where authorities also are investigating.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.