A Thousand Oaks couple is in custody after investigators found they were allegedly running a theft scheme, using fake bar codes to steal merchandise from Target stores, officials said Tuesday.
Detectives began probing in April multiple incidences of theft dating back to January at the retailer’s locations in Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Woodland Hills, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
Working with Target loss prevention officers, investigators determined that a husband-and-wife team was conspiring to manufacture phony bar codes to affix on items that would effectively decrease the price the products rang up for. They would then use self-checkout to pay for the merchandise in attempt to avoid being caught, sheriff’s officials said.
Detectives tied the scam to Dr. Elizabeth Hooper, a 43-year-old pediatrician, and 52-year-old David Hooper, a musician. The couple was ultimately able to steal about $2,400 worth of merchandise, deputies said.
After a search warrant was served at their home on the 2600 block of Lander Court last Thursday, April 26, detectives uncovered materials used to create fraudulent bar codes along with items stolen from Target, officials said.
Elizabeth, who was at home at the time, was arrested on suspicion of grand theft and conspiracy. David, who was out of state, met with investigators on Monday and was subsequently arrested, also on suspicion of grand theft and conspiracy.
Both were being held on $20,000 bail, authorities said.
The Medical Board of California shows Elizabeth is licensed as a physician and surgeon at her home address.
Records reveal she was placed on probation from 2009 to 2011 and ordered to complete an ethics course and psychotherapy after she “engaged in conduct that undermined the public confidence in the integrity of the medical profession.”
The disciplinary action stemmed from an incident in which Elizabeth allegedly stole a coworker’s credit card and used it to make $1,220 in fraudulent purchases in August 2006, when she worked at the Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts. She was subsequently fired from the position, documents show.
But in March 2010, her psychotherapist found she had “sincerely and genuinely” worked to address the underlying issues that pushed her to commit the theft and was “genuinely committed to the highest level of ethics and professionalism both in the medical field and in her personal dealings with others.”
The next year, the board determined it was “consistent with the public interest” to terminate her 35-month probation early.