A witness told police that the woman had been seen in the food court with a man, but within moments, police got a call from Sephora, stating that the woman had just hit that store and was now in a third store, Express, filling a bag with merchandise, according to court papers.
Police later found surveillance video from outside Nordstrom, showing the woman running to a waiting car parked near the Salem Five bank branch.
A list of area malls and stores where the woman is suspected of shoplifting was included in court papers; it stretches from Legacy Place in Foxborough to Steeplegate Mall in Concord, N.H.
Other area malls that were hit include Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, N.H., Burlington Mall, Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua, N.H., Newington Mall in Newington, N.H., Chestnut Hill Mall, Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, Solomon Pond Mall in Marlborough and Holyoke Mall. Investigators suspect Santos is part of a ring of professional shoplifters.
A security officer for Abercrombie and Fitch stores in New Hampshire recognized Santos as the suspect in thefts from their stores in Nashua, Newington and Salem.
After police released a surveillance image of the suspect last month, they were contacted by relatives of Santos, who recognized her.
And it turns out, Santos was still on probation for her role in other shoplifting cases.
A Lawrence District Court probation officer confirmed that Santos, who allegedly steals to support a drug habit, had been on release in a pending case from July when she cut off an electronic monitoring bracelet in August and disappeared from her uncle’s custody.
Santos was hospitalized at Lahey Burlington following her arrest; police did not know the nature of her illness, but her hospitalization led to a delay in her arraignment, originally scheduled to take place yesterday.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.