Two of three suspects in string of thefts arrested

May 19, 2011 10:00:00 PM PDT
Authorities are looking for one more woman they say is a part of a crime ring hitting drug stores for something very specific and unexpected. So far they've already arrested two women.

No elaborate plan here. Investigators think the suspects stole when they thought they could get away with it. Their target merchandise was makeup.

CVS advertises its good deals on the sign right out front. Although according to precinct 6 deputy constables, three women wanted the best deal of all -- free.

"They would simply go in, load 'em up and walk out," Harris County Pct. 6 Cpl. Jarrel Caldwell said.

It wasn't well organized, says Caldwell, but for months it was effective. He says the three women would walk into CVS stores, grab a basket, load up on makeup and make a run for it -- that is until Monday.

That's when Melissa Servantes and Adriana Balderas were arrested at this CVS store on Harrisburg. They're accused of stealing more than $3,000 worth of makeup. It quickly became a broader investigation.

"It just began to snowball," Caldwell said.

Deputies have linked the women as well as a third, Jessica Balderas to a total of 8 thefts at CVS stores all across the Houston area, as well as one at this Melrose Store in the east end. There, they're accused of stealing $1,200 worth of Capri pants.

Many of the stores have surveillance video of the thefts some showing children in tow. All three women face felony charges. Jessica Balderas has yet to be arrested.

And Caldwell thinks they could uncover many more crimes.

"It seems like going for broke at whatever chance they get; with every opportunity, they take it," he said.

Adriana Balderas and Servantes are out of jail on bond. We tried to locate them but couldn't.

Investigators don't know what they did with the merchandise they're accused of stealing. They do think the women may have hit more stores so they encourage merchants to contact the Harris County Precinct 6 Constable's Office at 713-923-9156 if they think they've been targets.

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