Operation 'Fade to Black Friday' cracks down on shoplifters

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
Anthony Grant By Mike Gertzman Anthony Grant By Mike Gertzman
Vincent Borunda By Mike Gertzman Vincent Borunda By Mike Gertzman
Edward Hill By Mike Gertzman Edward Hill By Mike Gertzman
Brian Cochran By Mike Gertzman Brian Cochran By Mike Gertzman

MESA, Ariz. -- 'Tis the season for shopping. And police say, 'tis also a busy time for shoplifters. So the Mesa Police Department is cracking down on shoplifting this holiday season.

The department conducted a shoplift reduction sting called Operation Fade to Black Friday. This is the second year of the operation, targeting repeat offenders and retail theft rings.

Retailers worked with Mesa PD by staffing extra loss prevention officers in various stores. A cooperative effort between Mesa detectives and patrol officers combined to make 49 arrests over two days last week.

Three arrests were made for Organized Retail Theft and four additional Organized Retail Theft investigations were launched as a result of the operation. The operation encompassed several thousand dollars of merchandise.

With Black Friday approaching, the Mesa Police Department recognizes the impact of shoplifters to our local retailers as they attempt to keep merchandise stocked and affordable during the holiday season.

The Mesa Police Department plans to conduct more shoplift reduction projects throughout the shopping season.

Here were some of the alleged shoplifters caught during the operation:

-Anthony Grant was recognized by loss prevention when he returned to steal two cases of ammunition valued at $399, which he hid in a backpack before walking out of a store.

-Vincent Borunda was recognized by loss prevention officers for stealing Blue Ray DVDs in the past. During the operation he removed 4 DVDs valued at $152 from the packaging and hid in his pockets before paying for other merchandise.

-Edward Hill had stolen a $479 laptop six days before and was recognized by loss prevention officers when he stole a $198 Airsoft BB gun during the operation.

-Brian Cochran was arrested for stealing 12 video games valued at $240. He admitted to being paid for each game he stole by a known associate.