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Police: Crew stole $3 million in gear from Apple, other stores

March 19, 2013 | 12:57 pm

Torrance Police have arrested four family members of a Chicago-based shoplifting crew believed to be responsible for dozens of thefts nationwide.

The four family members were arrested this week after they arrived in Southern California to appear in a Santa Monica court on shoplifting charges. Torrance undercover detectives identified the group after a theft in the city and then conducted a surveillance operation.

Investigators watched as they allegedly shoplifted items from Apple stores throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Torrance Sgt. Robert Watt said the crew would enter a business while some distracted the staff and acted as a barrier. The women would slip the items -- typically hard drives -- into their baggy clothes.

The four arrested were identified as Ausra Bauzinskaite, 34, Adeliya Nassybullina, 30, Lukasz Karasinski, 37, and  Przemyslaw Skiba, 31. They described themselves as a "Polish gypsy family" to investigators. A fifth person involved in the scheme was deported by immigration.

They are believed to be responsible for stealing from the Mac Mall in Torrance and 17 other locations across Los Angeles County and Orange County. They say they committed the thefts in order to pay off a $2-million debt their family had incurred several years before.

Detectives believe in three years, the family has snatched about $3 million in merchandise from small technology stores and massive retailers.

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-- Richard Winton

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