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Arrests made for alleged home invasions, $200k retail fraud

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(The Center Square) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced arrests from two investigations into alleged criminal rings operating in the metro-Detroit area.

Three Chilean nationals -Jeremy Martinez, 19, Ignacio Ruiz-Saldias, 29, and Tamara Ruiz-Saldias, 36, allegedly targeted expensive homes in Oakland, Wayne, and Kent Counties. They each face eight counts of second-degree home invasion, a 15-year felony, and one count of conducting a criminal enterprise.

The FBI identified each as a member of the formally designated South American Theft Group who broke into homes between Feb. 3 and Feb. 11 in Ada Township, Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Grosse Pointe Farms, Rochester and Rochester Hills.

The alleged crime ring targets vacant homes in affluent neighborhoods seeking cash, jewelry and other high-value items.

All charges have been filed in the 52-3 District Court in Rochester. The three defendants were charged while in custody at the Hamilton County Jail in Indiana, where they face separate home invasion-related charges.

“Home invasions don’t just threaten our property, they threaten our sense of security, and this ring has set entire communities on edge,” Nessel said in a statement. “I am proud of the hard work by not just those in my Department, but by our county and local law enforcement partners on this effort.”

Three arrests were made concerning “push-out” thefts from Lululemon and Ulta Beauty retail locations throughout metro Detroit.

The three Detroiters accused – Loreece Cross, 34, Cardiae Davis, 20, and Samira Smith, 20, face charges including conducting a criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony, and seven counts of organized retail crime, a five-year felony.

Between December 2022 and November 2023, the state says the three stole more than 30 times from storefronts using small, organized groups to sell to consumers or in bulk to a fence operation – someone who knowingly buys and sells stolen goods.

Total losses to retailers connected to these thefts exceed $200,000. One theft event alone netted over $19,000 in merchandise.

“Organized Retail Crime is a pervasive problem in Michigan and across the United States, costing Michigan businesses over $1 billion each year,” Nessel said in a statement. “Through our state and local law enforcement partnerships, my FORCE Team is able to vigorously prosecute not just the thieves, but also the people who organize these rings. I anticipate that today’s arrests will be the first of many tied to this ring as we continue to target those who target Michigan’s retailers.”

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