ARIZONA NEWS

3 West Valley women accused of selling stolen merchandise out of their homes

Apr 18, 2024, 6:34 PM

PHOENIX — Three women have been arrested after a six-month investigation called “Operation Makeup Break Up,” authorities announced on Thursday.

Guadalupe Gamez-Moreno, 35, Alejandra Reyes Torres, 48, and Jennifer Zazueta-Reyes, 22, are suspected of reselling stolen merchandise.

Interim Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan and Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell announced the arrests during an afternoon press conference on organized retail theft.

The operation began in late 2023 with arrests of repeat shoplifters. Detectives learned the suspects had been operating illicit makeup stores inside their homes since 2018, the Phoenix Police Department said.

Authorities served over 32 search warrants on three different locations in Phoenix and Tonopah, which is where the women allegedly stored and sold the stolen items.

“This was an elaborate scheme that these women engineered in order to stock their makeshift stores inside their homes,” Mitchell said during the press conference.

Authorities recovered over half a million dollars’ worth of stolen merchandise from the suspects’ homes, she added.

Why authorities launched Operation Makeup Break Up

“We all know that organized retail theft has become big business, not just here in Phoenix, but around the country,” Sullivan said during the press conference.

Ulta Beauty, Target, Bath and Body Works and Sephora were some of the stores the women allegedly stole from, he added.

“My hope is that this sends a strong message that we are committed to investigating and arresting individuals of all crimes, and theft of this magnitude will not be tolerated,” Sullivan said.

Mitchell said the women are facing multiple charges:

  • Reyes Torres was indicted on one count of illegal control of an enterprise and four counts of trafficking in stolen property.
  • Gamez-Moreno was indicted on one count of illegal control of an enterprise and one count of trafficking in stolen property.
  • Zazueta-Reyes, who is the daughter of Reyes Torres, was indicted on one count of illegal control of an enterprise.

Zazueta-Reyes had a job and used the illicit business as a side hustle, authorities said. However, Reyes Torres and Gamez-Moreno both allegedly ran their criminal enterprises as full-time jobs.

“We need to pay particular attention to this kind of crime, especially on a scale such as this. It affects everyone’s bottom line,” Mitchell said. “Retailers will offset their losses, which can mean that we who are law-abiding citizens are going to pay higher prices.”

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3 West Valley women accused of selling stolen merchandise out of their homes