ACWORTH, Ga -- Police believe they may have stopped a string of thefts when they arrested some pretty clever shoplifters. Acworth Police said they had all the tools, including one they have never seen before.
It all came about because of a very observant retired Cobb County Police officer. He noticed a man and woman inside the Best Buy on Cobb Parkway in Acworth who looked suspicious.
Captain Mark Cheatham said the retired police officer followed the couple into the parking lot where they got into a van with a driver. "He followed them outside and then followed them in their car and called police," Capt. Cheatham said.
While he was following the van the retired police officer all of a sudden noticed the van had an Illinois license plate. When police finally stopped the suspects van they found an electronic device inside the vehicle. "When it was activated it would automatically cover the license plate with a flip of a switch," Capt. Cheatham said.
From inside the van the suspects controlled a switch. Hit it once and a plate would come down over the license. Hit it again and the plate would slide up showing the number.
When police searched the van they also found stolen merchandise from the Best Buy, including computer equipment, and $7,000 in cash.
They also found tools used to defeat stores anti-theft systems. One was a small metal box with a switch that acted like a jammer, police said. "Once it was activated it would interfere with the signals at the retail store where it would not detect if someone was walking out with stolen merchandise," Capt. Cheatham said.
Police arrested Krzysztof Dolinski, 39, Marzena Waskowska, 46, and Jan Jodlowski, 51. Police said all three had valid Canadian passports and the Illinois license plate was valid. All three are charged with Shoplifting, Possession of Tools for the Commission of a Crime, Criminal Trespass, and Use of a Plate to Conceal Identity of Vehicle.
Investigators are wondering what the three suspects were doing in Acworth, and what they may have done between Illinois and Atlanta. "That's what leads us to believe that with the complexity of this crime that there's a high likelihood that there are others involved as well as many other victims," Cheatham said.
Police are asking anyone with information about other similar thefts to call Crime Stoppers Atlanta or Acworth Police at 770-974-1232.