Accused Shoplifters Arrested With $7,000 Worth Of Clothes

(Photos courtesy of the Linden Police Department. A photo of Erica Munoz was not available.)

(Photos courtesy of the Linden Police Department. A photo of Erica Munoz was not available.)

LINDEN – Police arrested three accused shoplifters at the intersection of Routes 1&9 and S. Stiles Street on Saturday evening. Officers found clothes valued at more than $7,000 in the suspects’ possession at the time of their arrest.

Raymond H. Rivera, 34, Tania Perez, 30, and Erica E. Munoz, 33, all of Philadelphia, Pa., were charged with shoplifting and possession of an anti-shoplifting device. Munoz, the driver, was also charged with obstruction, and reckless driving.

On July 20 at 7:07 p.m., police responded to The Children’s Place store in the Aviation Plaza shopping mall on Routes 1&9 in Linden on a report of three shoplifters leaving the store. Officer Vincenzo Wegrzynek arrived on scene and saw the suspects get into a 2001 BMW X5 in the lot. While holding onto the exterior door handle, Wegrzynek told the driver to stay there and not drive away.

The driver, later identified as Munoz, shouted “no” and allegedly proceeded to drive away with the officer holding the outside door handle. The officer let go and radioed backup officers that the car was heading onto Routes 1&9. The car was stopped at the intersection of Routes 1&9 and S. Stiles Street.

A Children’s Place representative identified the trio as the shoplifting suspects. They were found in possession of $450 of children’s clothing (shorts and shirts), and three shopping bags which had liners designed to thwart alarm sensors on the clothes. Rivera also had merchandise allegedly stolen from the Linden Target store and was charged by them. A further search of the vehicle yielded $6,682 in clothing with tags which had allegedly been stolen from four stores in Elizabeth. The merchants were contacted to identify and retrieve their clothing and advised on signing complaints.

The suspects were each held on $1,000bail on the Linden charges pending further investigation.

The charges are merely accusations and the suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.


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