MADISON, Wis. (WCCO) — Several Twin Cities businesses are being credited with stopping a pair of suspected professional shoplifters.
Geba Bogdanov and Veronica Jakab are accused of stealing more than $26,000 thousand dollars in merchandise in two states.
When bike shop manager Edwin Benet went to pick up his stolen merchandise from the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, he knew his bike shop in Madison, Wis. wasn’t the only target.
“Theft is part of retail. You expect a certain amount of it,” said Edwin Benet, who manages a bike shop in Madison.
What he did not expect was the extent of loss, which was more than $26,000 dollars of items taken from dozens of stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
“I see this and was like, wow, they kept themselves busy,” said Benet.
Investigators said Bogdanov and Jakab would tag team a store. He would cause a distraction, while she would hide items in a large skirt with pockets sewn underneath.
“How could someone come into a tennis shop and walk out with rackets? They’re not easy to steal,” said Deb Irvine, who had items stolen from her tennis shop.
Bike shops took the biggest hit and soon businesses banded together, alerting each other of a potential theft ring. The partnership eventually led to an arrest after a suspected shoplifting attempt.
Authorities said they discovered 40 bags of merchandise in Bogdanov and Jakab’s rented vehicle.
“It’s rare to catch them with everything,” said Commander Mike Salter of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
Retail is a competitive business, but in this case, a big rival can become a close ally. The cooperation allowed 51 businesses to recover some of what they lost.
While those business owners are glad to get their merchandise back, they also noticed some items are still missing. Benet believes some of his missing merchandise was already resold.