Woman charged with stealing $300K from California retailers

Dec 11, 2021, 5:39 PM | Updated: 5:42 pm

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — A woman has been charged with grand theft for allegedly stealing more than $300,000 in merchandise from retail stores in California.

Ekaterina Zharkova, 38, was arrested last month after an investigator with the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Theft task force saw her stealing from a Nordstrom Rack in Costa Mesa. When members of the task force searched her apartment, they found more than $328,000 worth of stolen merchandise, the Orange County District Attorney’s office said in a statement.

Investigators believe she attempted to sell stolen merchandise through a luxury online consignment store.

Zharkova was charged with four felony counts of grand theft, one felony count of receiving stolen property, and seven misdemeanor counts of petty theft. She faces up to nine years in prison if convicted on all counts.

It’s not known whether she has an attorney who can speak on her behalf.

The charge comes amid a rash of large-scale thefts in California in which groups of individuals brazenly rush into stores and take goods in plain sight.

“Shoplifting and other retail theft is out of control across California as a result of reckless laws that have made the risk far less than the potential reward,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said. “These are not victimless crimes and if you engage in these kinds of outrageous theft schemes we’re going to arrest you, we’re going to prosecute you, and we’re putting you behind bars.”

In September, Zharkova pleaded not guilty to a separate felony grand theft charge and misdemeanor charge of possession of burglary tools, according to court records.

She also pleaded not guilty in a felony grand theft case in Los Angeles filed in August, the Orange County Register reported.

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Woman charged with stealing $300K from California retailers