2 of 4 fragrance thieves go to jail
Two of the four suspects in a two-minute, $7,341 raid at Ulta in Woodbury received jail time for aiding and abetting theft. All four of the defendants were charged with felonies after stealing from the Tamarack Village store.
Travis Antoine Arrington, 30, of Milwaukee spent 105 days in the Washington County jail and the rest of his sentence—17 months in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud—was stayed so long as he complies with the condition of 10 years of probation with Washington County Community Corrections.
Menique Jeanelle Hardy, 24, of South Milwaukee, pleaded guilty in October, and yesterday was sentenced to 30 days in county jail, 14 of which had already been served. Her in-custody Sentence to Service will be followed by five years of probation.
Mercedes D. Hardwick, 26, of Milwaukee, pleaded not guilty. She posted bail, she last appeared in court in late December, and her jury trial is scheduled for March.
A warrant is out for the arrest of Gerard Selwyn Smith, 26, of Milwaukee.
According to the complaint:
At 6:48 p.m. Feb. 3, 2015, at Ulta, four people grabbed recyclable shopping bags and filled them with a total of 104 bottles of perfume. They sprinted out the front door without paying and then jumped into a waiting, white Toyota Prius.
Aware of an internal shoplifting alert, Ulta employees recognized Arrington, Hardwick, Hardy and Smith.
Police believe the four defendants came to Minnesota for the purpose of committing retail theft, while in the middle of a multistate crime spree. Arrington, Hardwick, Hardy and Smith allegedly had been involved in nine incidents at Ulta and Sephora stores in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.
The total loss was $27,224, all from fragrance sections.
Surveillance photos from Woodbury matched their past booking photos and Facebook photos.
Two weeks after the incident in Woodbury, Arrington, on federal probation, tried to sell perfume and cologne on his Facebook page, which also showed a photo of him wearing the same hat he wore during the theft in Woodbury.
Hardwick and Hardy are Facebook friends with the owner of a white Prius—the getaway car in several of the heists—pictured on Facebook.
All of the defendants have significant criminal histories.
Hardwick and Hardy have been convicted of retail theft in the past. Hardwick's criminal history includes a conviction for receiving stolen property.
After an alleged robbery in Wisconsin, Smith had an active warrant out for his arrest.