A Chicago man and woman were charged on assorted counts of retail theft, driving on a suspended license and giving a fake name after they were spotted making multiple trips with to their car while stealing merchandise from a shopping mall with a young child in tow, reports said.
Orland Park Police were dispatched to Orland Square Mall, 288 Orland Square Drive, after receiving a tip of retail theft in progress around 4:11 p.m. Feb. 21.
A loss prevention agent told police she saw a man and woman, later identified as Ireal R. Vantrease, 23, and Shakira P. Moriera, 23, making multiple trips to a blue Chevy Malibu and dumping large amounts of merchandise into the trunk from an H&M shopping bag. Accompany them was a young child wearing a pink coat.
After unloading the bag into the trunk, the adults and child would go back into the mall, police said.
Officers put the Malibu under surveillance, which was parked near the upper level entrance to JCPenney. While waiting for man and woman to return, they ran the Malibu’s license plate, which came back registered to Moriera. Officers also learned that she was driving on a suspended license, reports said.
After a short wait, the man and woman returned with the child to the car. Moriera got into the driver’s side. Vantrease got into the passenger seat, and the child was placed in the back seat.
Both adults looked in the direction of the fully marked squad car parked in the lot. Moriera started driving the wrong way down the opposite lane of traffic. Police followed the Malibu and signaled for the car to pull over near 94th Avenue.
Officers asked Moriera to step out of the car. Asked about the large amount of merchandise in the trunk, Moriera said some was merchandise that she purchased, but some of it had been stolen by Vantrease. She also told police that she had receipts for the merchandise she purchased, reports said.
Another officer spoke to Vantrease. Police said he admitted to stealing some of the merchandise in the trunk, but he wasn’t the only person stealing, and that Moriera was stealing stuff as well. He allegedly told police he took stuff from Express, Forever 21, Love Culture and Victoria’s Secret. He did not have an ID, and gave a false name, officers reported.
Police arrested Moriera for driving on a suspended license and she was placed in the back of a squad car. Both adults were placed in separate squad cars. The child was taken to the Orland Park police station.
On the way to the station, Vantrease told officers he had lied about his name. He believed there were warrants out for his arrest, which was why he gave police a fake name, reports said.
Police popped the trunk where they found a large quantity of unbagged clothing. Some articles had holes from where sensors had been removed.
Loss prevention agents from Forever 21, Love Culture, Express and Victoria’s Secret identified their respective stores’ merchandise. All were interested in pressing charges, police said.
Vantrease agreed to talk to police. He allegedly told them he was stealing because he didn’t have a job. He admitted to taking items and putting them in Moriera’s trunk. He placed panties from Victoria’s Secret into Moriera’s bag, but she was the one who carried them out of the store.
He signed a written statement, but crossed out a line because “placing panties in a bag was not stealing,” reports said.
Moriera also agreed to talk to police. She said she went to the mall to buy a birthday outfit. She knew Vantrease was stealing, but also said she should not have tolerated it, police said.
She purportedly told police she was not with Vantrease the entire time they were in the mall. She was unaware of how much merchandise he had stolen or damaged/
Police said Moriera further insisted that she hadn’t stolen anything, and never carried a bag out of Victoria’s Secret. The loss prevention agent at Victoria’s Secret said she watched Vantrease placing panties into a bag and purse held by Moriera. It was Moriera who carried the bag out of the store.
The stores reported the total losses as:
- Forever 21 - six sweaters valued at $129.30
- Love Culture - 22 miscellaneous leggings, denim jackets and jeans valued $556.90
- Express - 8 knit tops valued at $224.20
- Victoria’s Secret - 56 pairs of panties valued at $418.39
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved a felony charge of retail theft for Vantreasel, who was also charged with obstructing his identity and three counts of possession of stolen property. Bail was set at $75,000. His next court hearing is on March 17.
Felony charges were denied for Moriera because she had no past criminal record. She was charged with driving on a suspended license and possession of stolen property, both misdemeanors. She had a court hearing in Bridgeview on March 10.