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Brick Police Nab Trio Who Targeted Shoppers, Stole Purses After Distracting Them

Brick Twp. Police car. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Brick Twp. Police car. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Brick police have charged three suspects with pulling off a scheme in retail stores across the state that resulted in multiple victims having their wallets or purses stolen before they could even realize the items were gone.

Oswaldo Uribe-Acosta, 35, Salvia Beraun-Villanueva, 27, and Oscar Lopez-Salcedo, 58, all of Paterson, were charged with theft by unlawful taking, theft of property lost-mislaid, and computer criminal activity. It would later be revealed that the trio were being sought by multiple police agencies in New Jersey before being captured after the Brick incidents. Police announced the charges over the weekend.

According to a statement, during the month of May, officers received multiple reports from victims stating their wallets and purses had been removed from their person or shopping carts inside retail stores through Brick Township.

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This was done by what police described as a “distraction pickpocket theft.”

In each case, a female suspect would distract the victim, while one of the male suspects would remove the wallet or purse from the victim’s person or the shopping cart. The suspects would then leave the store, change their clothing or appearance and travel to various stores throughout the town, including Trader Joe’s, Target, Best Buy, and Costco, to utilize the stolen credit cards to purchase multiple items.

“These suspects had committed several other similar incidents throughout the state,” the statement said.

Chief David Forrester credited the Brick Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Stafford Township Police Department, Montvale Police Department, and Cherry Hill Police Department for their “combined and collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation.”

“This should serve as a reminder to always check your surroundings while shopping and never leave your belongings unattended while inside retail stores,” the statement from the department said.

Photos of the suspects were not released publicly; none were listed as inmates at the Ocean County Jail.

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