Mall security guards charged with theft

August 21, 2008 3:56:17 PM PDT
Talk about a breach of security. Three security guards at a mall in Orange County have been busted for allegedly burglarizing the businesses and stealing from the customers they were supposed to protect.

Authorities say the robberies happened for months, but that store owners were not reporting the thefts to police. Instead, they reported the incidents to the very people police say were responsible for them.

The burglary spree ended Sunday when a sports memorabilia store was hit. The owner contacted the state police directly, and their investigation led them right back to the mall. Two current and one former security guard at the Galleria Mall at Crystal Run have been arrested for break-ins dating back to last November.

"There were several members that actively participated in the thefts, and then there were several members who were well aware of the thefts and failed to make notification to their supervisors," state police lieutenant Brian Shortall said.

Police say guards Jorge Irizzary and Ruben Ramos and former guard Daniel Loeb stole at least $7,000 in merchandise. Police say the suspects tried unsuccessfully to break into a safe in the management office around Christmas time, knowing it was full of cash from gift card purchases.

Among the items recovered from the suspects' homes included difficult-to-transport items like an elliptical trainer and a power washer owned by the mall.

The security staff is hired by the mall's owners, the Pyramid companies, of Syracuse.

There was no comment from guards arriving for work Thursday, nor from the mall management. But shoppers were surprised to hear of the spree, which included stealing GPS devices from cars.

More arrests are expected.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Marcus Solis

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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