Deputies in Riverside County recovered more than $10,000 in stolen merchandise after arresting a 19-year-old woman, along with two juveniles, who reportedly returned to a store for the second time in one day to steal additional merchandise, authorities announced earlier this weekend.  

The incident unfolded on Nov. 2 with Riverside County Sheriff’s Department deputies responding to reports of the grand theft just after 8 p.m. at an unidentified retail store.  

At the scene, employees told deputies with the robbery and burglary suppression team that earlier in the day the store had lost some $2,000 worth of merchandise and that the suspects, one of whom was later identified as Georgiana Velcu, were seen returning to the store and concealing more items.  

Velcu, a resident of Brea, along with the two juveniles were detained.  

Organized retail theft bust
Georgiana Velcu, 19, from Brea, was arrested along with two juveniles on Nov. 4, 2023, in connection with a theft a retail store in Riverside County. (RCSD)

“During the investigation, deputies recovered over $10,000 in stolen merchandise from numerous retail stores within the County of Riverside,” RCSD authorities said in a news release.

RCSD Sgt. Dierdre Vickers told KTLA’s Shelby Nelson that deputies believe the three suspects are a part of a large retail theft ring where they are targeting local stores, as well as stores outside of county.

Velcu was booked at the Cois Byrd Detention Center on charges of grand theft and organized retail theft. The juveniles were released to their parents or a guardian and charges will be filed in the juvenile court system.  

The investigation into the crime continues and anyone with information is encouraged to contact Deputy Noel at the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station at 951-245-3300.