Birmingham Police Investigate Rash of Downtown Thefts

Items were taken from several downtown Birmingham shops, from Bec and Sam's to Backcountry North, in two separate incidents last Saturday.

Several suspects are wanted in connection with a string of thefts at various Birmingham shops along Maple Road last Saturday.

According to Birmingham Police Cmdr. Terry Kiernan, police are investigating two separate incidents, during which merchandise was taken from Bec and Sam's, Anthropologie, Beauty by RX, the Spice and Tea Exchange, Sweet Thing and Backcountry North.

Dearborn Heights woman believed to be behind string of thefts along Maple

In the first incident, police are searching for a 33-year-old woman from Dearborn Heights with several outstanding warrants from Birmingham and other area police departments. The woman is also believed to be connected to several other retail thefts in Birmingham.

According to police reports, the thefts occurred sometime between 11:25 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. last Saturday, Oct. 27. The woman was first noticed at Bec and Sam's, where she paid with a check. An employee there called the bank to verify the check after the woman left and discovered it was fraudulent.

The employee found the woman at Anthropologie, and employees there searched the woman's bag, finding merchandise that had been taken from Anthropologie, the Spice and Tea Exchange, and Beauty by RX.

The woman managed to elude store employee and fled the scene in a car. Later, police discovered the woman had also taken merchandise from Sweet Thing earlier that day.

Jacket taken from Backcountry North, police believe suspects involved in other thefts

A second retail fraud incident occurred later that Saturday, around 1:45 p.m. at Backcountry North. According to police reports, store employees noticed two suspicious-looking women standing next to a Patagonia jacket near the front door.

After the women left the store, employees discovered the jacket was missing. The woman were described as weighing around 200 pounds and were between 5-foot-2-inches and 5-foot-5-inches in height. Both were wearing dark-colored clothing.

Police believe the women are connected to a credit card theft at J. McLaughlin on Oct. 14 as well as several other thefts in the area.

Laura Houser November 03, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Debbie: Per Patch's company-wide policy, we only include race when it is used as part of broader description, when there is a reasonable expectation the person can be identified. Inflammatory, by definition, means arousing passion or strong emotion, particularly anger or suspicion. Naming a suspect's race (such as if they were black) with little else to describe them could arouse suspicion of all black people. Again, if you have any more questions about this policy, email me at Laura.Houser@patch.com. I would happy to discuss this if you're still concerned.
Racer Boy November 03, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Could there possibly be a more lame policy than that of the Patch? You have gender, height, weight and in most cases dress as descriptors of these criminals. The Police believe the descriptions are both accurate and helpful in the attempt to solve these crimes as do other local publications. Yet, the Patch doesn't? Why bother printing the article at all...I am sure some find just the publication of crimes to be "inflammatory". The Patch's editorial position is ludicrous, senseless, shallow and NOT in the best interest of the respectful and law abiding citizenry they supposed serve.
Debbie Thomas November 03, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Readers, I have complained about the policy to the national corporation at patch.com. From what I can tell, the company is owned by AOL. I think the president is Warren Webster.
Debbie Thomas November 04, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Followup--yes, the policy is insulting--I might be "inflamed" if the word "black" is used in a crime story. Business publications report much angst in the national co. Forbes (5/24/12) reported 2011 revenues at Patch of $13 million and costs of $160 million.
Long Island Dave November 04, 2012 at 03:54 AM
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