A Chicago woman took merchandise worth $36,000 during more than 30 raids of the Gold Coast lululemon store, prosecutors said Thursday. At one point last year, she allegedly told a lululemon security guard that she sold the stolen merchandise to a third party for $100 or less per bag so it could be shipped overseas.
Phyllis Johnson, 48, faces four counts of felony retail theft and operating a continuing financial crime enterprise. Judge Ankur Srivastava ordered her to pay a $1,000 bail deposit to be released.
Johnson shoplifted from the retailer’s 930 North Rush Street store over and over again, taking items worth $1,920 on July 16, $2,042 on August 16, and $1,672 on August 17, prosecutors said.
On August 26, when a store security officer spoke to her about retail theft, she allegedly identified herself as Victoria Johnson and said she was paid $300 for every three to five bags of merchandise she delivered to the exporter.
Prosecutors said she returned to the store two weeks later and took another $3,200 worth of merchandise.
Cops arrested her Tuesday after someone saw her inside the Southport lululemon store and contacted the Chicago police fugitive apprehension unit.
Prosecutors said she has seven felony convictions in her background, including six for retail theft. She received a 13-year sentence for attempted aggravated arson in 2004.
Her public defender told Judge Srivastava that she attends church, volunteers regularly, and has a degree in construction management. While prosecutors accused Johnson of shoplifting from the Rush Street store more than 30 times, her lawyer argued that she was charged with “only eight” incidents.