DENVER - An Aurora man who supervised the Ross Dress for Less distribution pool at a warehouse in northeast Denver is facing felony theft charges after an estimated $125,000 worth of clothing and other items disappeared from the warehouse.
Court documents allege that Armando Lopez, 31, removed the items from the warehouse at 54thand Joliet, placed them in a small white trailer, drove them to his house on the 2000 block of Lima Street in Aurora, and sold them out of his own garage.
"He was having garage sales there every weekend," said one neighbor. "All summer long."
An eagle-eyed shopper tipped off investigators.
The shopper, who asked to remain anonymous, told 7NEWS that she stopped at one of the garage sales in late August and noticed that the woman in charge was pulling price tags off some of the clothing.
"They had Ross labels on them," she said.
The shopper contacted the manager of the Ross store at Stapleton and told him she saw boxes of goods being unloaded from the trailer.
The store manager contacted the company’s loss prevention manager, who in turn contacted internal investigators. They called police.
According to court documents, the Ross investigator saw a large quantity of ladies' clothing hanging on racks in Lopez’s garage. He also observed three to four cartons which had "Ross Stores" printed on the side.
The undercover investigator told the woman in charge of the garage sale that he was interested in men’s pants and shoes for his son. The woman directed him to an area in the back yard. There, he observed several blue plastic totes and three more cardboard cartons with "Ross Stores" printed on the sides.
The court document states that the investigator recognized a label on the inside flap of one of the cartons as one used to identify the carton number. He discreetly removed one of the labels and placed it in his pocket. He later determined that the carton had not been logged into Ross' system and was unaccounted for.
The Ross investigator told police there was no reason for cartons like that to be at a personal residence, "other than theft."
Police recovered numerous items when they executed a search warrant at the home on Oct. 1, among them: 78 pairs of athletic shoes, 47 pairs of miscellaneous shoes, 97 pairs of pants, 48 dresses, 277 shirts and 370 undergarments.
Lopez’s wife told authorities she had no idea the items were stolen. She said when she asked her husband where he got the items, he told her, "Don't worry."
When asked for reaction to the allegations against Lopez, Ross spokeswoman Connie Wong replied in an email: "The incident you are inquiring about is now in the hands of the local police. Ross management is in full cooperation and communication with the Aurora and Denver Police Departments."