Prosecutors: Shoplifting team raided 5 Lululemons in 90 minutes, getting merch worth $17,374

Cmya Benson, top, and Makhia Russell (Chicago Police Department, Multiplottr)

CHICAGO — Prosecutors say a shoplifting crew stole merchandise worth more than $17,000 by raiding five Lululemon stores in under 90 minutes earlier this month. Two women face felony charges.

Surveillance video from the stores showed two women entering the retailer’s West Loop location, 932 West Randolph, around 11:50 a.m. on June 14, officials said. The pair walked out with clothing and accessories without paying.

They struck again 15 minutes later at the 944 West North Avenue store and 12 minutes after that at the 1627 North Damen Location. About 20 minutes later, they were in Lakeview, hitting the store at 3556 North Southport. Then, they wrapped up their day at the 930 North Rush location just after 1 p.m.

According to a Chicago police report, the stores compared notes and determined that the women took clothing and other items worth $17,374.

A CPD unit spotted a car investigators linked to the shoplifting raids near the 5200 block of South Cottage Grove about 45 minutes after the last heist. The report said two women ran from the car when the cops pulled up on them.

Makhia Russell, 19, of Calumet City, bolted from the passenger seat, according to CPD. They detained her, noting she was carrying $1,326 cash in small bills.

Also arrested was the driver, Cmya Benson, 22.

Police found 193 clothing items bearing Lululemon price tags inside the car. Loss prevention agents from the stores confirmed the items were stolen merchandise.

Videos from the stores showed Russell participating in all five thefts, according to her arrest report. According to the report, Benson allegedly told the police that Russell and another person hired her as the getaway driver.

Both women are charged with felony theft and operating a continuing financial crime enterprise.

Judge Shauna Boliker released them to await trial.

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