On Tuesday morning, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that a married couple from Ridgewood, Queens had been charged in connection with a series of pickpocketing incidents and robberies.
According to Brown, the defendants, 45-year-old Luis A. Chango and 37-year-old Rosa Jerez, had targeted over a dozen female shoppers with baby strollers between the months of August and November.
In most instances, Jerez acted as a lookout or distraction for her husband, who removed property from unsuspecting prey as they shopped at various retail outlets including The Gap, Old Navy and Carter's Children's Store. Once, in late September, Chango was spotted reaching into a baby's stroller and snatching a victim's iPhone from her baby's hands, causing the baby to cry as the defendants quickly fled the scene.
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"With the holiday season fast approaching and retail outlets becoming crowded, shoppers should be especially mindful of pickpockets and purse snatchers," Brown said at a press conference. "A successful pickpocket only needs seconds to accomplish his or her goal of parting you with your valuables.”
Chango and Jerez have each been charged with multiple counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree identity theft, endangering the welfare of a child and petty larceny.
If convicted, Chango and Jerez face up to 38 and 23 years in prison, respectively.