By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
NORTHBOROUGH — Police in Northborough recently arrested two men who now face charges after they allegedly stole nearly $14,000 in items from various Dick’s Sporting Goods stores.
The suspects, Manuel Antonio Gutierrez, 33, of Port Washington, N.Y., and Jose Antonio Jara, 37, of Elizabeth, N.J., face a total of 12 charges.
On Facebook, Northborough police wrote that “the two men are part of an organized retail crime theft ring, which were targeting numerous Dick’s Sporting Goods locations.”
According to charging documents filed with the Westborough District Court, Northborough police responded to a report of shoplifting at Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Northborough Crossing plaza at 12:46 p.m. July 16.
A loss prevention staff member told officers that a man had “…taken an unknown amount of merchandise in a white bag from Dick’s Sporting Goods,” according to police documents.
The man had left the store. Police then located his vehicle and pulled him over on Belmont Street.
Two men — Jara and Gutierrez — were in the car and there was a white bag matching the description given to police next to Gutierrez, officers wrote.
When police opened luggage in the trunk of the car, there were “hundreds [of] pieces of clothing with price tags and theft detection devices still attached” inside the luggage.
The loss prevention staff member told police the items were Dick’s Sporting Goods merchandise, but they didn’t believe it was from the Northborough store.
Seven pairs of Nike pants, seven pairs of Nike shorts and 12 Nike sweatshirts, valued at a total of $1,500, are alleged to have come from the Northborough store.
In total, 106 shirts, 70 pairs of shorts, 78 pairs of pants, 59 hats and two swimsuits — totaling $13,870 — were found in the suitcases.
Police also found two white bags made with “heavy” duct tape.
“Through my training and experience, shoplifters use these thick bags to prevent the security alarms from being activated on items that contain theft detection devices,” officers wrote.
The loss prevention staff member identified Gutierrez as the man who took the items. The staff member said Jara had also been in the store at the same time as Gutierrez.
Jara told police that he came to Massachusetts with Gutierrez. During the trip, Gutierrez would steal the merchandise and bring the items to New York, where they would be sold, Jara said according to documents. Money would then be sent to Gutierrez’s wife in Chile, Jara told the police.
Gutierrez was allegedly planning to pay Jara for helping him take the merchandise.
Gutierrez allegedly provided police with a Pennsylvania driver’s license that had originally been issued to another person.
Gutierrez and Jara were both charged with aggravated organized retail crime over $10,000, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.
Gutierrez was also charged with unlawful distribution of theft detection shielding device, larceny over $1,200, conspiracy, shoplifting by asportation and forging or misusing a Registry of Motor Vehicles document.
Jara also faces charges of unlawful possession of theft detection shielding device and being an accessory after the fact.
Both were scheduled to be arraigned on July 19.
Jara was released on his own recognizance after he entered a plea of not guilty. A probable cause hearing will be held Sept. 28.