San Jose police detain pair connected to more than 70 instances of retail theft

San Jose police have apprehended two men believed to be involved in numerous organized retail thefts throughout the city, as announced by the department on Wednesday.

Jaime Flores, aged 46, and Thomas Sapiniso, aged 37, stand accused of perpetrating over 70 such crimes and absconding with merchandise valued at more than $75,000, according to police reports.

The suspects are alleged to have stolen items from various retail outlets, including Target, NIKE, REI, Best Buy, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Flores was taken into custody on December 16 following a grand theft incident at Westgate Mall and subsequently booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail, police stated.

Detectives secured an arrest warrant for Sapinoso on January 31, while he was already incarcerated at the jail for an unrelated offense, authorities mentioned.

Surveillance footage depicts them exiting a Nike store carrying what investigators claim to be stolen shoes.

“It’s premeditated, they go in coordinated. They have a vehicle waiting for them, and they know what merchandise they’re going to grab, obviously things that cost more money,” said Stacie Shih of SJPD.

According to police, the $75,000 recovered represents only a portion of the total value of merchandise stolen by the two individuals during a crime spree that extended from July 2023 to January 2024.

Additionally, authorities highlight that a recent $8.4 million grant from the state significantly aided in financing the personnel and technology required to solve this case. These funds were specifically allocated for combating organized retail theft.

“It enables us to allocate our resources, including personnel and technology. Given the staffing shortage experienced by the San Jose Police Department, it has been challenging for us to address numerous cases. This grant assists us in concentrating our resources, whether in the field, investigation, or technological capabilities,” stated Shih.

Shopper Esteban expressed relief upon hearing about the arrests: “People have become more emboldened in taking items and leaving, so it’s reassuring to hear that authorities are cracking down and apprehending some individuals.”

However, law enforcement officials emphasize that there is still much work to be done, particularly in identifying the group of thieves responsible for targeting a Dick’s Sporting Goods store in San Jose in November.

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