PEABODY — A woman believed to be responsible for stealing thousands of dollars in merchandise from popular mall stores Victoria’s Secret and Sephora is expected to be arraigned today on felony larceny and trespassing charges arising from thefts at Northshore Mall in Peabody.
And Jennifer Santos, 28, of 48 Columbus Ave., Lawrence, will likely face similar charges in other jurisdictions, after security officers for several retail chains, including Abercrombie and Fitch, recognized her from thefts at other malls all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire, according to court documents.
Police estimate that Santos was involved in the thefts of more than $100,000 worth of merchandise in the two states. Because of the interstate nature of the offenses, the U.S. Marshals service has also become involved in the case.
The charges stem from an investigation that spanned several months this spring and summer, after police were told that a woman had stolen more than $24,000 worth of merchandise during six visits to Victoria’s Secret in the Northshore Mall. She allegedly stole as many as 100 pairs of panties and 50 bras at a time.
Police, through their investigation, also learned that the same person was also stealing thousands of dollars worth of fragrances from the Sephora store. Investigators say she had taken more than $12,000 worth of high-end merchandise, including fragrances by Prada, Fendi and Gucci, slipping the bottles into a large shoulder bag.
As the investigation was going on, there were more thefts reported by the two stores, whose employees recognized the same skinny blond woman with a pink or blue streak in her hair, according to court documents. Investigators documented some 13 visits, allegedly by Santos, to the Sephora store.
On one evening in June, for instance, Victoria’s Secret called to report that the woman had been in the store, grabbed more than $2,000 worth of underwear and then ran toward the mall food court.