La Jolla clothing thieves sentenced
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 07/26/16 - 01:11 PM | 4626 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two people who were involved in high-end retail clothing thefts from stores in La Jolla and elsewhere were sentenced Monday to 180 days and 96 days in jail respectively.

Lorena Gabriela Ramirez, 43, who got 180 days, will be tentatively released on Sept. 5 from the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility, according to the sheriff’s department. She received credit for 96 days spent in jail.

A co-defendant, Zakharias Dennis Karasoulas, 51, of Lake Elsinore, was released Monday night after being sentenced to the 96 days he has already spent in jail. Both Ramirez and Karasoulas pleaded guilty to grand theft.

Both of them were ordered by San Diego Superior Court Judge Dan Link to not enter any stores owned by the Hollister Company or Abercrombie & Fitch as a condition of three years probation. They struck the La Jolla branches of those stores, according to court records.

Link ordered Ramirez and Karasoulas to pay $6,643 and $4,876 respectively to the stores which lost clothing during the shoplifting sprees. The high-end clothing was sold at swap meets.

Link told Ramirez that since she had two prior misdemeanor theft convictions, the sentence for this offense “should be a huge wakeup call for you.” She faces up to three years in prison if she violates probation conditions.

Deputy District Attorney Joseph Whang said several people at the clothing stores lost their jobs as a result of the thefts after the clothing was discovered for sale at swap meets. He said the store managers were held responsible for store inventory.

Attorneys for both defendants objected to a further restitution order of $5,004 which the department stores are seeking for investigative costs. A restitution hearing for this amount was set for Sept. 19.

A third co-defendant, Mario Andres Espinoza, 42, will be sentenced on Aug. 31. Espinoza, also known as Mario Esker, remains free on $20,000 bond. The restitution amount for Espinoza was set at $1,767. He also pleaded guilty to grand theft.

The first documented theft was on Sept. 1, 2015 at the Abercrombie & Fitch at the UTC mall when Ramirez put 15 men’s polo-style shirts valued at $29.95 each in her large black purse and left without paying for them.

Investigators discovered foil-lined bags surrounded the stolen clothing to prevent detection of merchandise security tags. Managers at several stores attempted to confront Ramirez and Karasoulas but they escaped each time.

Another theft was documented on Oct. 6, 2015 at the Hollister store at UTC when Ramirez put 18 clothing items valued at $449 inside a tan purse and left the store. Stores at Plaza Bonita mall in National City and in Los Cerritos were among the victims.

On May 4, Karasoulas was stopped by sheriff’s deputies for speeding and weaving between lanes on Interstate 15 in his white van. Deputies discovered Karasoulas was driving on a suspended license and was in possession of 154 clothing items taken from the Hollister stores and Abercrombie & Fitch. Approximately $12,000 worth of clothing was found in Ramirez’s home in Chula Vista.
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