Accused thieves made list, checked twice, of holiday targets

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 01, 2011 6:08 PM
Accused thieves made list, checked twice, of holiday targets

By Alexis Kunsak

PITTSBURGH, Pa (Reuters) - An accused shoplifting trio whose van was stuffed with toys also kept a list, checking it twice, of their targets in a tri-state holiday crime spree that netted up to $50,000 in goods, police said on Thursday.

Barbie dolls, wrestling figures and other toys were stacked to the ceiling inside a white Enterprise rental van that police found outside a Kmart in Ross Township, north of Pittsburgh.

Also inside was a tidy list of store addresses with checkmarks next to those hit in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Targets included Toys R Us, Walmart and Kmart.

Arrested on November 16 were three upstate New York residents identified as Theresa Lynn Warner, 40, her finance Christopher Dimaio, 39, and her son Justin Scott Warner, 17. They were charged with retail theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.

Kmart security had witnessed all three hiding containers of baseball cards worth $500 in their clothing and contacted the Ross Police, who subsequently discovered the white van in the parking lot.

"They said they admittedly got a little greedy and probably should've stopped," said Officer Albert Elway, one of the policemen who made the arrest.

He said the adult couple told him they were struggling financially and intended to sell the items at flea markets.

The spiral-bound notebook found by police in the van showed a neat list of store addresses, along with notes about security cameras, aisles where target toys are kept, and checkmarks for each hit. Certain stores appear with two checkmarks, indicating to police that they were hit twice.

The van was impounded and taken to a nearby fire station that had enough space to hold the extensive haul of stolen goods.

"We don't have the storage space at the Ross Police Department," said Sergeant Benjamin Dripps of the Ross Township Police.

He said police planned to return the merchandise to the stores and unclaimed goods would be donated to charities such as Toys for Tots.

Warner and Dimaio, both of Little Falls, New York, were held on $15,000 bond in the Allegheny County Jail and Warner's son was at Shuman Juvenile Detention Center in Lincoln-Lemington.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)