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Police recover $500,000 worth of stolen merchandise



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City police have recovered at least $500,000 worth of stolen merchandise. They also arrested a couple accused of stealing it all from a retail distribution center.

The man who was arrested worked for a distribution company called Wall Street Transportation, which is in Salt Lake City. The stolen merchandise included clothes from popular retailers.

Police say 30-year-old Vicente Hernandez-Rodriguez was a truck driver for Wall Street. His job was to deliver boxes of merchandise to stores owned by the Limited Brands, including Bath and Body Works and Victoria's Secret.

The company's loss prevention team became suspicious of Rodriguez when workers discovered some of the inventory was not going to the stores. Major Name Brand Retailers Loss Prevention then did its own investigation and saw Rodriguez drop off some boxes at his house in West Valley.

On Tuesday, police got involved in the investigation and served several search warrants.

"This is a big case. It's a lot of merchandise; we're thinking anywhere between $500,000 and $750,000 worth of merchandise. So, it's a big theft," said Salt Lake City police Sgt. Robin Snyder.

Police also arrested Rodriguez's wife, 37-year-old Janet Loza, who was seen putting boxes of merchandise in her car. Officers served search warrants at the couple's home and at a storage unit in the area of 4500 West and 3500 South. They recovered boxes of merchandise from both locations.

The couple was arrested for felony property crimes. The charges, police say, will likely be enhanced because they were working together.

Police aren't sure what the couple was doing with the stolen goods but say they may have sold some of it on the Internet.

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Story compiled with contributions from Sandra Yi and Marc Giauque.

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