ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announces 3 more organized retail crime charges

Dec 1, 2023, 4:35 AM

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell  is cracking down on organized retail crime with a new cam...

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell is cracking down on organized retail crime with a new campaign. (Facebook Photo/Rachel Mitchell for Maricopa County Attorney)

(Facebook Photo/Rachel Mitchell for Maricopa County Attorney)

PHOENIX — Three people were accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise across the Valley as Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell announced charges against the three defendants involved in Organized Retail Crime (ORC).

The charges are the latest in her continuing commitment to tackling ORC in Maricopa County.

ORC occurs when groups steal a large amount of merchandise with the intent to resell. In many cases, thieves will travel from out of state to commit multiple offenses throughout Maricopa County and then sell the stolen merchandise online.

The first case is the indictment of Juan Ambriz-Rincon for 14 counts of organized retail theft, two counts of trafficking stolen property, two counts of attempt to traffic stolen property and one count of possession of narcotic drugs, all felonies.

Over a one-year period, Ambriz-Rincon, 39, allegedly stole roughly $46,000 worth of merchandise from numerous home improvement stores in Maricopa County. He traveled from New Mexico to Arizona to commit these crimes. He would take a high-ticket item, exit the store without paying, then would sell the stolen merchandise online.

He would also take items from the sales floor and return them for a refund, use fake receipts to deceive employees and use self-checkout to pay for lesser items and not pay for more expensive items.

Home Depot used surveillance and transaction receipts to identify Ambriz-Rincon in 14 different thefts from the retail store between Oct. 10, 2022, and Oct. 16, 2023. The thefts occurred in Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Avondale.

The second case involves two women who hit several discount clothing retail stores, taking roughly $6,600 in merchandise. Sarah Barker and Sierra Monroe each face several counts of organized retail theft. 

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell launched the new “Safe Shopping” campaign in November.

“We’re seeing in some of the other states in the United States where you have those mass bands of people running in and smashing and grabbing, but we still have people who are going into stores and taking large amounts of items that have a high resale value,” Mitchell said in an interview on KTAR News’ The Gaydos and Chad Show. “And we’re also seeing a trend where people are coming from other states, California, in particular, to do day trips to go into our stores here and steal from them.”

In July, Mitchell also created the Organized Retail Crime Taskforce at MCAO to foster more communication between retailers and law enforcement. The “Safe Shopping” campaign is an extension of the task force.

“We’re going to prosecute those cases and like I said, we will add them together and get them for the felonies that they’re committing and put them in prison,” Mitchell said in the interview.

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Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announces 3 more organized retail crime charges