Longmont woman accused of using discarded receipts to swindle Target for $900 in merchandise returns

PD: Suspect scrounged receipts from trash cans

LONGMONT, Colo. - A 49-year-old Longmont woman has been arrested and accused of stealing more than $900 from Boulder County Target stores in a merchandise return scam.

The serial thefts Colleen Theresa Gallegos is accused of committing are simple, but Target officials say she's been caught 10 times, according to a Longmont police report.

Target loss-prevention official told police that have surveillance video showing Gallegos scouring store parking lot trash cans for discarded receipts.

Video cameras then show her entering stores empty-handed, where she reads from a scavenged receipt while filling a shopping cart with items from the receipt, the police report said. She confirms the price of each item on in-store bar-code scanning machines, the police report said.

She then pushes the full cart past check-out counters, going straight to the customer service desk where she returns the merchandise for either cash or gift-card credit -- or both, store officials told police.

Longmont police said this charade ended Wednesday afternoon when Target security officials called police to report they were holding Gallegos on suspicion of shoplifting at the store at 551 S. Hover St.

Store officials told police they had surveillance video show Gallegos filling a shopping cart full of items that afternoon that she then returned for $80.69 in cash and $28.71 in Target gift card credit, the police report said.

Target officials said they had video evidence showing Gallegos pulling nine other thefts at stories in Boulder, Superior and Longmont. Store officials had yet to report the prior theft cases to police.

Police said Gallegos admitted she committed the thefts. She said some of the receipts she used were from old purchases she had made, but other receipts she found in the parking lot, the report said.

Gallegos was arrested on suspicion of theft of less than $1,000 and released on a summons requiring her to appear in court, police said.

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