A Passaic County couple ran a retail theft ring that paid thieves to shoplift specific items from a list that they provided, authorities charged.
Ali Soto, 42, and Vickiana Colon, 36, both of North Haledon, were both charged with being leaders of an organized theft operation, among other offenses.
The arrests were made on Dec. 14, 2022 but weren’t announced until Wednesday, Jan. 4, in a joint release issued by Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes, West Milford Township Police Chief James Devore and North Haledon Police Chief Todd Darby.
They didn’t say why.
Wednesday's release did say that investigators from Valdes’s White Collar Crimes Division and West Milford targeted Soto and Colon after township police fielded a report of the theft and subsequent forgery of a retirement check for an amount that they didn't reveal.
The couple “compensate[d] multiple individuals to commit shoplifting of certain items from large retail stores,” then sold the merchandise “through online retail outlets,” it says.
“During the arrest, members of law enforcement located numerous suspected stolen items in the residence,” they added, without saying where that residence is.
They also didn't give any examples of the types of merchandise stolen or the dollar amounts.
Soto and Colon were brought before a Central Judicial Processing Court judge in Paterson and released pending further court action on charges that also include theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fencing and money laundering, the release says.
“This investigation and execution of the warrants would not have been a success without the invaluable help from the US Postal Inspection Service and the Passaic County Sheriffs CSI Unit,” it notes.
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