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Suspected theft ring members nailed for shoplifting in Auburn-area businesses

Two Honduran citizens allegedly took thousands of dollars in merchandise
By: Penne Usher
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Two men from Honduras were behind bars in Placer County Jail Monday suspected of stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from area businesses. Dennis Antonio Garcia, 24, and co-conspirator Marlon Castellano, 27, were arrested March 26 and are believed to be involved in an organized retail theft ring, according to Lt. Jeff Ausnow, spokesman for the Placer County Sheriff's Department. Garcia and Castellano reportedly entered the Bel Air grocery store in Auburn and began stealing high-priced items such as razors and over-the-counter medications. One of the suspects was wearing specially altered pants that allowed for numerous items to be concealed, Ausnow said. Garcia was arrested outside the store. Nearly 30 items stolen from the store were found hidden in his specially designed pant legs, officials said. The suspect's actions were caught on the store's video surveillance. Castellano fled the scene but was later captured when he returned to the pair's get-away car parked nearby. A search of the car revealed at least $10,000 in merchandise stolen from other retail businesses, Ausnow said. Det. Jim Hudson, of the Placer County Sheriff's Department, declined to discuss specifics of the ongoing investigation, but did say he believes the two are members of a theft ring. They travel throughout the state and are currently working the Sacramento area, Hudson said Monday afternoon. We've identified four stores in the area. Most of the items are marketed at swap meet, mom-and-pop stores or end up in foreign countries. Garcia and Castellano, both from Honduras, have been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, burglary and grand theft. They are both being held without bail in Placer County Jail. Organized retail thefts continue to increase within the county. The Sheriff's Department encourages the business community to be observant of teams of individuals targeting high-end retail items. The Journal's Penne Usher can be reached at penneu@goldcountrymedia.com