Montgomery County police have arrested three Baltimore residents they say were involved in a plot to fraudulently return items to the Sunglass Hut and the Nordstrom in the Westfield Montgomery Mall. Police believe the group is responsible for more than 30 fraudulent transactions at the Bethesda Nordstrom in 2012.
One of the suspects is a former employee at a Georgia Nordstrom, and police say they believe he may have used his inside knowledge of the store's return policies to aid in the fraudulent transactions.
On April 3, Montgomery County police arrested Charmaine Rogers, 38, of the 2300 block of North Pulaski Street in Baltimore; Antwine Finch, 31, of the 5000 block of Clifton Avenue in Baltimore; and Kenyon Saunders, 24, of the 5000 block of Clifton Avenue in Baltimore.
Police also are searching for a fourth suspect, Les Royal Brown, 24, who did not have a confirmed address.
Police say search warrants executed at the Baltimore homes of Finch, Rogers and Saunders uncovered $200,000 worth of merchandise believed to be stolen.
Finch is a former employee at a Georgia Nordstrom, according to Officer Rebecca Innocenti, a police spokeswoman.
“He might have had knowledge of how the store works and how returns are made," Innocenti said.
Police say the suspects would purchase an item at a store and obtain a standard receipt and a gift receipt. The suspects would return the item at a different store location without a receipt in exchange for cash.
Then, using the standard receipt and the gift receipt from the first transaction, police say they fraudulently returned identical items to store locations and received cash refunds.
The items they returned fraudulently included sunglasses at the Sunglass Hut, Innocenti said.
The charges against the four suspects include multiple counts of theft, theft scheme over $1,000, conspiracy to commit theft over $1,000, and multiple counts of trespassing, according to police.
The charges are all based on transactions made at the Westfield Montgomery Mall, though police believe the group may have committed fraud at stores throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC, Innocenti said.
Police are continuing to investigate using credit card statements and the items uncovered with search warrants, Innocenti said.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Les Royal Brown is asked to call Detective O’Brien at 301-565-7740.