"Some of that merchandise had merchant trackers on them, which allowed the merchant to track the devices, the taken property, and then relay that information to us," said Fresno Police Department Officer Felipe Uribe.
Officers were able to track the suspects to Fashion Fair Mall and saw them walking toward the Ulta Beauty store there.
Before entering, the suspects returned to a vehicle in the parking lot and started to drive off, so police made a traffic stop.
Three of the suspects took off running, but were caught shortly after.
An Ulta employee helped positively identify them and they were arrested.
Adrian Cortez, Nicholas Ford, Robert Fregozo, Jacob Rodriguez and a juvenile were all booked for conspiracy grand theft.
#BREAKING Grand theft suspects ID’d. They’re accused of stealing more than $2,000 in fragrances from the Ulta at the Villaggio Shopping Center last night.@ABC30— Jessica Harrington (@JessicaABC30) November 19, 2021
Adrian Cortez, 18
Jacob Rodriguez, 19
Robert Fregozo, 20
Nicholas Ford, 19
One juvenile arrested as well pic.twitter.com/Y5B0h1nRCI
"Without the merchant's help in this case, it would've been hard to find five people in a shopping mall," said Officer Uribe.
Grab and go thefts have been seen across the country, including earlier this year at the same Ulta store.
A spokesperson with Ulta Beauty sent Action News a statement saying,
"At Ulta Beauty, the safety of our associates and guests is our highest priority. We can confirm there was criminal activity at our Fresno store and we continue to cooperate fully with local law enforcement. While we have measured precautions in place, retail crime is unfortunately becoming more common and more violent across the country. We are thankful no one was harmed and will continue to work to ensure our stores are safe destinations for all."
Fresno Police said all of the stolen property was returned to the store, but officers expect these types of crimes will continue to happen as we enter the holiday season.
"We are going to have a lot more presence in busy shopping centers as we do every year and our goal is to just keep the public safe," Officer Uribe said.
Fresno Police are reminding shoppers to lock their vehicles, park in a well-lit area and if you have shopping bags in your vehicle, even if they're empty, make sure they're out of sight.