Fairfax County police officers arrested two women who are accused of being part of an organized theft crew that may have pickpocketed victims in Northern Virginia and beyond.
Both New Yorkers, 41-year-old Luz Hernandez Capera and 53-year-old Claudia Echavarria Osorio, are now each charged with multiple counts of credit card theft with additional charges pending.
According to police, their investigation began in mid-December when a victim told police her wallet was taken out of her purse while she ate at a Panera Bread location in Lorton. She said her credit cards were then used for fraudulent purchases at various locations. Detectives obtained security footage from the Panera that corroborated the incident, they said.
Then, later in the same day, Town of Herndon police officers encountered a similar case, which helped lead detectives to a license plate number for a vehicle that may have been involved, officials told FOX 5.
In late January, investigators said a license plate reader alerted them to the vehicle in question traveling on Route 66 in Fairfax County. An officer then conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle, ultimately leading to the arrests of Capera and Osorio.
"Generally, for Fairfax County, this is uncommon. We haven’t seen anything like this before," FCPD Assistant Commander Elizabeth Melendez said of the suspected organized pickpocketing group.
Melendez added that the women may also be connected to pickpocketing incidents in Maryland, West Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Ohio.
"We just want our community members to know about this case," she said.
Photo via Fairfax County Police Department
Both women were taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center, where Capera was being held on a $25,000 secured bond and Osorio on a $30,000 secured bond.
Detectives are asking anyone with information about these incidents to please call the Franconia Police District Criminal Investigations Division at 703-922-0889.