Woman stole $300,000+ in luxury goods from stores, Calif. DA says

National News

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KTLA) A woman was charged Friday with multiple felonies for stealing items worth more than $328,000 from Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx stores in Orange County.

Ekaterina Zharkova, 38, of Costa Mesa, was charged with four felony counts of grand theft, one felony count of receiving stolen property and seven misdemeanor counts of petty theft, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Ekatarina Zharkova is accused of shoplifting merchandise worth more than $300,000. (Orange County Sheriff's Department)
Ekatarina Zharkova is accused of shoplifting merchandise worth more than $300,000. (Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

Additionally, she has other open felony grand theft cases in Orange and Los Angeles counties, and is currently wanted on a $320,000 warrant after she failed to appear in another such case Friday.

Between Oct. 7 and Nov. 23, Zharkova is accused of going to several TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack stores in Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley and Tustin, where she filled empty shopping bags with thousands of dollars of merchandise and left without paying.

She was arrested on Nov. 23 by the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Theft task force after an investigator witnessed her stealing more than $3,500 in merchandise from a Nordstrom Rack in Costa Mesa.

The California Highway Patrol released this photo of the merchandise that they say was stolen.
CHP released this photo of the merchandise that they say was stolen.

Investigators followed Zharkova to the store, where they watched her fill a shopping cart with designer items, covering them with a coat before using a device to remove the security sensors, officials said. She then left the store without paying for the merchandise, officials said.

Zharkova was taken into custody in her car at the South Coast shopping center. Two days later, she posted $20,000 bond and was released, according to the DA’s office.

A search warrant was served at the woman’s residence, which was “packed wall to wall in every room” with stolen merchandise worth more than $328,000, according to CHP. The items still had their store tags and disabled security sensors in place.

Photos released by the agency also showed a vehicle with its front-passenger side, back seat and trunk all filled with the goods.

CHP released this photo of the woman's car, which also appeared to be packed with the allegedly stolen goods.
CHP released this photo of the woman’s car, which also appeared to be packed with the stolen goods, officials said.

Investigators say they believe the woman was attempting to resell the stolen items through a luxury item online consignment store.

“Shoplifting and other retail theft is out of control across California as a result of reckless laws that have made the risk far less than the potential reward,” O.C. District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a news release. “These are not victimless crimes and if you engage in these kinds of outrageous theft schemes we’re going to arrest you, we’re going to prosecute you, and we’re putting you behind bars.”

Zharkova is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 3, 2022. She faces a maximum sentence of nine years and two months if convicted on all counts in this case, the DA’s office added.

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