A Chicago couple “forced” their four children to steal nearly $1,000 worth of merchandise from a suburban Macy’s store, which continues to be a target for retail theft this holiday season, authorities said Wednesday. .
Angelo Almaraz, 26, of Chicago, and his domestic partner Talia Morales, 32, of Hammond, Indiana, brought their four young children, ranging in age from infants to 13 years old, to Oak Brook. I went to the children’s section at Macy’s. The DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office announced Monday night. Three of her children belonged to Almaraz and Morales.
The couple allegedly used their two older children to remove items from the shelves. Prosecutors said the children then handed the items to Almaraz and Morales, who hid the items in Nordstrom Rack bags they had brought with them.
“The allegation that two adults stole nearly $1,000 worth of merchandise with the help of children is extremely disturbing,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement.
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Officials said the group was spotted by loss prevention officers as they were leaving the store with bags containing stolen items, fled the scene and fled in a vehicle.
Oak Brook police officers responded to the scene and stopped the suspect’s vehicle as it attempted to enter Route 83. Officers found $962 in stolen property inside the bag and took the couple into custody, authorities said.
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“In this case, it’s heartbreaking that adults coerce young children into committing criminal acts,” said Oak Brook Police Deputy Chief Reid Foltyniewicz.
Mr. Almaraz and Mr. Morales were both charged with one count each of robbery and retail theft. The couple were released after a judge denied the prosecution’s motion to detain them before trial.
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Macy’s in Oak Brook has been a target of retail theft, and authorities are warning local residents and retailers to remain vigilant during the busy holiday shopping season.