4 charged in ‘major shoplifting ring’ in Manchester area of Rock Hill

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comNovember 27, 2013 

— Four women, included three Rock Hill sisters, have been accused in what police called a “major shoplifting ring” in which women stole more than $5,000 in merchandise from stores in the Manchester Village area, carrying the valuables out in shopping carts, storing them in their houses and then wrapping them up like Christmas presents.

Kimberly Barber, 36, and her sisters, Stephanie and Kimberly Barber, 35-year-old twins, were arrested Tuesday and charged with shoplifting and criminal conspiracy, according to Rock Hill police documents. A fourth woman, Twanna McCleave, 30, has also been charged in connection with the thefts.

The ring involved thefts from the Walmart on Dave Lyle Boulevard, TJ Maxx, JCPenney, Ross and Kohl’s, said Executive Officer Mark Bollinger of the Rock Hill Police Department.

Earlier this month, a loss prevention employee at the Dave Lyle Boulevard Walmart told police that witnesses informed him several women made multiple trips in and out of the store while pushing shopping carts full of merchandise without paying, according to a Rock Hill police report. After reviewing surveillance video, the employee gave police the descriptions and tag numbers of two cars the shoplifters used to load the valuables.

He said that primarily females and “a couple males” were involved, the report states. Police watched the video of the women grabbing toys, towels, blankets, furniture and electronics throughout the store, and then loading them in shopping carts. The women then used at least 10 shopping carts to push the valuables out of the garden center, while an employee stood at the cash registers “watching them walk out without paying.”

That same employee, seen on the video loading an entertainment set into one of the shopping carts for the women, told police he knows them personally, the report states. Police are investigating if the employee might be connected with the ring, but they have not filed charges against him, Bollinger said.

Using the car’s tag numbers, police determined the identity of the vehicle owners. The video showed the suspects getting into their respective cars and driving away.

Last week, an anonymous tipster who watched video of the theft on the police department’s YouTube channel called authorities, identifying two of the suspects as Stephanie Barber and Twanna McCleave, the report states. The caller refused to give police any contact information.

Detectives with the department’s property crimes unit continued investigating, learning that suspects matching similar descriptions had stolen merchandise from other stores along Dave Lyle Boulevard, Bollinger said. It’s unclear how many times the women targeted the stores, he said, but it’s possible the thefts span two months.

On Tuesday, property crimes detectives issued search warrants for each of the four suspects’ homes. While searching their homes, police found the stolen merchandise. Some of it, Bollinger said, had been lying out in plain sight. Other items were stored in closets, while others had been packaged in holiday-themed, multi-colored wrapping paper that had also been stolen.

Officers unwrapped the merchandise, Bollinger said, to find several of the items reported stolen from other stores. Much of the stolen merchandise still had security and store tags on it. Police also found valuables belonging to stores in the Concord Mills area in North Carolina.

There is no rhyme or reason to what police say was stolen. The stolen items range from remote-controlled toy cars to bed sheets and blankets.

“The main focus was to get them,” Bollinger said. “Now, the investigation will continue to see how they pulled it off.”

Police have not been able to determine the total cost of the stolen goods. Tuesday night, Walmart employees went to the police station to reclaim their merchandise. Officers had to fill two pick-up trucks with items belonging to Walmart, Bollinger said.

Surveillance video from Walmart:

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