Two men suspected of being members of a South American ring of thieves were arrested on Friday, June 14 after being in possession of a “booster bag.”
At 6:08 pm officers of the Santa Monica Police Department responded to a call regarding a burglary at a local traveling trade show that was in the 1800 block of Main Street.
Security personnel at the show had discovered that two attendees were in possession of what is called a “booster bag.”
A booster bag is a handmade bag used to shoplift items from stores that are fitted with a security tag.
The booster bag can be an ordinary shopping bag, backpack, pocketed garment, or other inconspicuous container whose inside is lined with a special material, typically multiple layers of aluminum foil that provides electromagnetic shielding, with the result that electronic security tags inside the bag may not be detected by security panels in the detector antennas at the store exit.
One of these men also possessed a center punch (often used by car thieves to break auto glass).
It was determined (from information gleaned from the security personnel at the show) that these two individuals were likely members of a mysterious ring of South American thieves that had targeted this particular trade show as it traveled throughout the United States.
The officers had enough evidence to arrest these tow ring members (one aged 26 and a Los Angeles resident, and the other aged 27 and a “tourist”) and they were charged with attempted burglary, possession of burglary tools, and conspiracy.
Bail was set at $20,000 each.
Editor’s Note: These reports are part of a regular police coverage series entitled “Alert Police Blotter” (APB), which injects some minor editorial into certain police activities in Santa Monica. Not all of the Mirror’s coverage of incidents involving police are portrayed in this manner. More serious crimes and police-related activities are regularly reported without editorial in the pages of the Santa Monica Mirror and its website, smmirror.com.