RCSD announces the arrest of five women connected to retail theft ring

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says five women have been arrested in connection with a retail theft ring which spanned from Berkley County to Richland County.

On Tuesday, officials say employees at the Bath and Body Works in Sandhills reported that several women came into the store, loaded large candles into bags and fled from the store. Investigators say the candles were valued at $24.99 each. According to deputies, Bath and Body Works Loss Prevention said the same women had recently stolen candles from Berkley County and were involved in several organized thefts.

Deputies say stopped two vehicles leaving the scene, but the drivers of each vehicle fled from the traffic stops. Authorities say one of the vehicles crashed at Clemson Road and Old Clemson Road near Sandhills, and two women were detained. Investigators say a significant number of candles were located. Officials say the driver of the second vehicle lead deputies on a chase through Columbia, and it ended on I-26 near the I-77 interchange after the car struck a guardrail. Investigators say more candles were found in this vehicle, and they took three women into custody.

According to officials, an investigation revealed all five women came from the Charleston area to Columbia with plans to steal candles from stores. Authorities say they were also linked to more theft incidents Florence, Lexington County and Richland County.

In total, deputies say they recovered more than $8,000 worth of stolen merchandise as well as merchandise from other stores.

“These cases may seem insignificant in the midst of the violence going on but merchants are losing thousands of dollars in these property crimes,” Sheriff Lott said. “These weren’t isolated shopliftings, it was an organized ring that hit stores throughout the state. Unfortunately for them, they chose stores in Richland County where they were caught and we aren’t going to allow our businesses to be terrorized here.”

Deputies say they 32-year-old Alicia Cooper, 29-year-old Keonna King-Gant, 34-year-old Ashley Howard, 32-year-old Tyeshia Prioleau and 25-year-old Tanoshia Bowens were all arrested and charged with retail theft. They were all taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.


Categories: Local News, Richland