A 22-year-old woman arrested in Costa Mesa on suspicion of stealing more than $10,000 from major retail chains in a multi-state “short change” scheme was scheduled to go to Central Jail court Friday for her arraignment.
Ashlie Pentard of Long Beach was booked on suspicion of felony commercial burglary on Thursday, said Farrah Emami of the Irvine Police Department.
Investigators allege that since 2013, Pentard visited about 150 Target stores in California, Arizona and Utah, in each case making a small purchase with cash, Emami said. Pentard works as a nurse according to Orange county jail records.
“When the cashier provided change, Pentard would quickly switch the large bills with smaller bills and insist the store had provided her with short change,” Emami said. “She then fraudulently collected the purported balance from the cashier and fled the scene.”
The scam, which Pentard allegedly ran in September and August at Target stores in Irvine, would typically yield about $100 per transaction, Emami said.
Irvine police began an investigation and identified Pentard as the suspect.
“Through the investigation it was determined that Pentard has committed similar crimes at Walmart, Home Depot and possible other retailers,” Emami said.
Pentard was arrested outside a Target store in Costa Mesa, where Irvine police detectives saw her allegedly commit another short-change theft, Emami said.
—City News Service
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