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Wednesday, July 15 Police Reports

Police: ‘Little Rascals’ shoplifting gang strikes Stamford twice

STAMFORD — City police said they had to break off a chase with two men last week who they said are members of a shoplifting gang that has been sneaking into stores around the metropolitan area for months and swiping expensive health and beauty products off shelves.

The outfit is known as the Little Rascals, police said.

Police last Thursday recovered nearly $2,000 worth of merchandise in a bag that one of the suspects dropped outside of the Ridgeway Stop & Shop before running away and leading police on a short chase, they said.

Although the gang is responsible for dozens of shoplifting thefts costing area stores about $50,000 worth of inventory, Thursday’s incident the was first time any police department came close to catching them, Capt. Diedrich Hohn said.

“No police have actually confronted them,” Hohn said. “We were the first. They come in fast and leave fast. With this incident I’m glad no one got hurt and hopefully this will act as a deterrent and they won’t come back to Stamford.”

Hohn said it was the second raid in a week by the gang of thieves. On June 19, two gang members boosted about $900 worth of products from the Stop & Shop on West Main Street, he said.

On Thursday police were notified the gang was striking again at the Ridgeway Stop & Shop. When officer Silas Redd confronted the thief outside the store he dropped the bag and ran from the parking lot towards Wells Fargo on Sixth Street, police said.

Officer Willie Guilford was next to the bank and helped give chase before the suspect hopped into a waiting black Kia with New York license plates. The Kia fled on Sixth Street before making a right turn on Bedford Street, going the wrong way.

The chase was quickly terminated because it would have been too dangerous for patrol cars to pursue the vehicle, police said.

The Kia ended up on Strawberry Hill Avenue before hopping back to Bedford, again going the wrong way. At the end of Bedford the Kia ran over a roadway median but kept heading south and was not seen again.

Hohn said on June 19 two gang members were confronted by a store employee inside the West Main Street Stop & Shop, but one of the men indicated to the employee that he had a knife and the two were allowed to leave the store. They were picked up by a waiting driver in a car with out-of-state plates.

Hohn said since February the gang has hit Stop & Shop stores in Norwalk and Ansonia and in Westchester, Orange and Ulster counties in New York.

“They are looking for high end products like Nexium or Rogaine and they will go in there and clean out a whole aisle,” he said.

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com

John Nickerson|Police and court reporter

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