For the second time in four months, a major shoplifting ring targeting the outlet mall in Kimball Junction has been busted. This time, an alert store security guard in Sandy is being credited with busting the operation.

Friday, a security officer at Old Navy, 10210 S. State, noticed three people acting suspiciously inside the store. The trio was walking around the store, collecting clothing and putting it in their shopping bags and then leaving the bags at different spots throughout the building, said Sandy Police Sgt. Victor Quezada. Investigators believe once the three people were done collecting clothes, they were planning to grab the bags all at once and run.

The security guard confronted one of the men, which prompted the other two to dash out the door, Quezada said. A fourth person was waiting outside for the group. The group had two vans with Nevada license plates parked in front of the store. Two of the people got in one van and drove off.

While authorities were trying to question the man detained inside the store, he too ran out the door, Quezada said. He and a woman who was one of the three people who had previously been in the store collecting clothes ran off, Quezada said.

The security guard called police. A Sandy officer who happened to be in the area spotted the fleeing van, pulled it over and arrested the two men inside, Quezada said.

Inside that van and the one still parked at Old Navy, detectives found approximately $13,000 worth of stolen clothing, mainly from the outlet store in Summit County. A 32-year-old man and another man who turned 34 on the day he was arrested were booked into the Salt Lake County Jail. Although they were from North Las Vegas, Quezada said, both were believed to be illegal immigrants. The search continued Tuesday for the man and woman who ran off.

In August, two people were arrested in Summit County after more than $11,000 in merchandise was stolen from the outlet stores. Investigators were looking for two others associated with those robberies.

Summit County investigators said the shoplifting ring in August was the fourth high-dollar heist in four years at the shops in Kimball Junction.


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