Local and federal law enforcement in two states are eyeing a group of men in an series of alleged thefts at Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Boyds department stores and an auto dealership.
Four men were arrested in North Philadelphia Tuesday by the FBI Violent Crimes task force after city officers spotted a stolen SUV used as a getaway car parked along the 3200 block of Turner Street, officials said.
They were nabbed after FBI agents and local police set up surveillance of the stolen SUV, which had a distinctive license plate for the DARE program.
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The suspects -- 46-year-old Louis Mathis; 30-year-old Hasan Knight; 39-year-old Jermaine Ricky Johnson; and 27-year-old Marquis Taylor -- are charged in a theft at Macy's in Moorestown, New Jersey.
Surveillance video captured three men walking into the Moorestown Mall store on Sunday and grabbing $5,300 worth of Polo Ralph Lauren coats from a display, police said. The men then got into a dark colored SUV and sped off.
A short time later that day, the same SUV was spotted outside the Macy's in Center City Philadelphia. Store security told police the same group of men cased the store's Polo Ralph Lauren display twice -- entering and exiting the Market Street store in between. They then left without taking anything.
The next day, the men were spotted casing the same display, and again left without taking anything, officials said. The piled into the black SUV once again.
Law enforcement believe the SUV was one of two vehicles stolen from the service center at the Faulkner Infiniti in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania earlier this month. The SUV, a black 2011 Infiniti QX56, and a slate blue 2013 Infiniti G37 sedan went missing from the dealership on November 6th.
Investigators are now looking into whether the men were involved with two other high-profile thefts in recent weeks at three other department stores.
In a brazen, early morning theft at Boyds in Center City this October, a group of men used a red Toyota to smash into the Walnut Street store's display window. They took $45,000 in handbags and accessories from the high-end clothing store, police said.
The group sped off in that red sedan and a silver Mercedes sedan.
Police believe the same Mercedes was used as a getaway car after a theft at the Northeast Philadelphia Macy's on Election Day. The suspects used a hammer to smash open a watch display case, taking Movado watches worth $16,000, according to police.
The both the Toyota and Mercedes were later recovered by Philadelphia Police.
The third theft happened at the Bloomingdale's in Willow Grove on November 7th. Police said men snatched 35 Burberry coats before jumping into a black Infiniti SUV waiting outside. Investigators believe the SUV is the same one stolen from the nearby dealership the day before and later used in the other incidents.
As of now, each suspect only faces one count of theft, but officials are determine if there is a link between all of the crimes. It's not clear if the men have retained legal counsel.