A married couple has been charged with being serial pickpockets after allegedly targeting more than a dozen unsuspecting female shoppers with baby strollers at borough retail outlets between August and November of this year, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Luis Chango, 45, and Rosa Jerez, 37, of Ridgewood, were arraigned Monday night on criminal complaints charging each of them 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 petit larceny. Bail was set at $12,500 for Chango and $7,250 for Jerez.
In most cases, it is alleged that Jerez engaged the victims in conversation or either acted as a lookout or shielded Chango as he removed the victims’ personal property—such as cell phones, wallets and cash from their strollers between Aug. 9 and Nov. 8. In one instance, according to Brown, it is alleged that a 34-year-old woman was shopping with her 6-month-old son on the afternoon of Sept. 27, and that store video surveillance showed the two suspects in close proximity to their female victim when Chango reached into the baby stroller and abruptly took the victim’s new iPhone 6 cell phone from her baby’s hands. When the baby began to cry, the two defendants quickly exited the store.
“With the holiday season fast approaching and retail outlets becoming crowded, shoppers should be especially mindful of pickpockets and purse snatchers,” Brown said. “Shoppers should never leave bags or valuables unattended or hanging from strollers and they should always be aware of their surroundings. A successful pickpocket only needs seconds to accomplish his or her goal of parting you with your valuables.”
Chango and Jerez’s next court date was scheduled for Dec. 4. If convicted, Chango faces up to 38 years in prison and Jerez faces up to 23 years in prison.
By Forum Staff