An undercover Brick police officer working a special holiday season detail in one of the township’s shopping plazas caught a 35-year-old shoplifter Monday, police said.
Officers George Williams and Chris Geskey were working a plainclothes detail in the shopping center when they saw a man later identified as Alexander Ortiz ,of Lakewood, acting suspicious in Kohl’s plaza, Capt. Ron Dougard said.
Based on his suspicious behavior, the officers followed Ortiz as he went into the Shop Rite store, Dougard said. As the officers followed him, they noticed a large bulge underneath his coat, which was revealed to be two backpacks when the man took his coat off after leaving the store.
At that point, Williams noticed a Bath and Body Works merchandise tag sticking out of the top of one of the back packs, Dougard said.
The officers approached Ortiz on the sidewalk outside of the Bath and Body Works store and inquired about the merchandise tag, Dougard said. Ortiz told the officers that he purchased the item in the store for his wife.
The officess’ investigation revealed that Ortiz took the item without paying for it, according to Dougard. As a result, Ortiz was placed under arrest for shoplifting and a search of his backpacks yielded over $200 of stolen merchandise from various stores in Kohl’s Plaza and Brick Plaza.
Ortiz was processed and released on a summons.