Lehigh Valley

Bethlehem woman arrested in connection to Walmart theft ring

Police allege thefts totaled more than $57,000

BETHLEHEM TWP., Pa. - Authorities in Northampton County have arrested a Bethlehem woman for her role five years ago in a retail theft scheme that netted more than $57,000 in stolen merchandise over a three-month span.

Bethlehem Township police charged Jatmarie Merced with felony counts of conspiracy and theft in connection to the alleged plot to steal electronics from the Walmart at 3926 Route 191 from November 2012 through February 2013. District Judge Robert Hawke arraigned the 36-year-old Monday night, setting bail at $50,000.

Investigators filed charges against Merced in April 2013, and it’s not clear from court records why it took authorities nearly five years to arrest her.

Store security contacted the Bethlehem Township Police Department in February 2013, after the loss prevention manager reviewed video surveillance footage and discovered that several people had been stealing from the store. One of those accused of theft was Merced.

During an interview with a police investigator, a Walmart employee reportedly admitted to stealing merchandise and told authorities that he had seen others, including Merced, do the same, according to court records. He told police that Merced would under ring merchandise by conducting price checks on televisions and other electronics, but not make the person pay for the merchandise, according to records.

Police said six people were involved in the theft ring and stole items such as iPads, televisions, iPods, laptops, headphones, video games, DVDs, cell phones notebooks and PS3, Wii and Xbox gaming systems.

Investigators said Merced was assigned to the electronics department during the time of the thefts and would allegedly pretend to ring up merchandise. The criminal complaint against Merced lists her alleged co-conspirators, but court records list charges only against a David Burgos.

Burgos pleaded guilty in November 2013 to a single felony count of organized retail theft. He was sentenced to 15 to 31 months in prison, up to three years probation and ordered to pay restitution. Court records indicate the now 36-year-old was paroled in August 2014.

Court records indicate that the group stole $57,288 worth of merchandise, $7,240 of which was attributed to Merced.

Police charged Merced, of Amplex Street in Bethlehem, with retail theft, theft by deception, organized retail theft, conspiracy and receiving stolen property. She failed to post bail and was sent to Northampton County Prison to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 20.

DISCLAIMER FOR COMMENTS: The views expressed by public comments are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the TERMS OF USE  and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Your comments may be used on air. Be polite. Inappropriate posts or posts containing offsite links may be removed by the moderator.

This Week's Circulars


Lehigh Valley News

Latest From The Newsroom