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CROOKED COUPLE CONSPIRES TO CARRY OFF BABY ITEMS

BSO Case Number: BS13-03-1393
PIO Number: 13-6-22
Date: 6/25/2013
Time: 4:30 PM
Place of Occurrence: Babies “R” Us, 11930 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines
Jurisdiction: Broward County

Victim(s):

  • State of Florida

Suspect(s):

         

  • Edgar Portela, 30, male, 5/13/83, 6288 NW 186 St., Apt. 204, Hialeah (IN CUSTODY)

            

  • Yanderi Soto, 30, female, 2/3/83, 6288 NW 186 St., Apt. 204, Hialeah (IN CUSTODY)

Description of Incident:

Broward Sheriff’s Office organized retail crime unit detectives and special agents from Homeland Security Investigations arrested two suspects captured on surveillance videos in a series of elaborate thefts from Toys “R” Us/Babies “R” Us stores across four counties, resulting in losses of over $30,000.

In the scheme, the couple would purchase big-ticket items. They would later return to the store, select the same items from the store shelves and return the new items with the receipt from the previous purchase. Edgar Portela, 30, and Yanderi Soto, 30, committed the crimes while with their 10-month-old infant and Soto’s 12-year-old son from a prior relationship. On some occasions they used the older child to hand off the receipt from one adult to the other. They also used old baby registries to return items they picked up off the store shelves. The pair would then list the stolen items for sale online.

The couple had been captured on surveillance video at stores as far back as October of 2012. Detectives obtained warrants for their arrest on June 10, 2013, but their address was unknown. On June 25, 2013, the pair was spotted entering a Babies “R” Us in Pembroke Pines by store security, who called BSO and the arrest was made.

Portela and Soto committed thefts in over 50 instances and were able to make out with over $36,000 worth of merchandise in Broward and Miami-Dade. They’re facing charges for organized scheme to defraud and criminal conspiracy.

The children were taken into protective custody by BSO Child Protective Investigations Section.

***MEDIA NOTE: Clear surveillance video of the couple at various locations is available for download from our website www.sheriff.org.

INVESTIGATORS: Sgt. Rossman & Det. Upegui; ORC; HSI; CPIS
THIS REPORT BY: Gina Carter/PIO 6/26/13 1630

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