TROY (WWJ) – Two Mexican citizens are facing multiple charges after police say they tried, and failed, to steal nearly $20,000 in merchandise from an upscale department store in Troy.

Mauritanea Rivera-Rivera, left. and Cristian Rivera Aravena. (Photos: Troy police)

Officers with the Troy Police Department on November 5 responded to the Somerset Collection, on W. Big Beaver Road in Troy, to assist security guards in apprehending two suspected shoplifters at Saks Fifth Avenue.

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Troy Sergeant Meghan Lehman said one of the suspects used a pair of wire cutters to remove a cable that secured some designer handbags to a display rack, while the other acted as a lookout.

“They appeared to be professionals,” Lehman said. “They knew what they were doing; they knew what they were looking for.”

The pair — a man and a woman — then concealed the merchandise, worth $19,990, and began to walk toward the exit doors. At one point, Lehman said, the would-be thieves realized they were being watched and they dropped the handbags.

The suspects exited the business and began to run, police said, jumping into a Chevy SUV with the male suspect behind the while. Although police told the driver to stop, he kept going, striking an officer’s leg. Lehman said he was not injured.

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At that point the driver — identified as a 47-year-old man from Guadalajara, Mexico — did stop, got out of the vehicle and was arrested. Police said the female suspect — identified as a 25-year-old resident of Caroliona, Mexico — refused to obey officers’ commands and was removed from the vehicle and arrested without further incident.

Police searched the SUV and found a pair of scissors and some wire cutters in the woman’s purse.

The male suspect was charged by the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office with Organized Retail Fraud, Organized Retail Fraud – Remove Anti-Theft Device, Malicious Destruction of Property, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Hinder and Obstruction of a Police Officer.  The female suspect was charged with Organized Retail Fraud, Organized Retail Fraud – Remove Anti-Theft Device, and Possession of Burglary Tools.

It’s unclear at this time if the suspects are in the U.S. legally, although immigration officials are involved in the case.

Lehman said Thursday that ICE has placed an immigration detainer on both subjects — which requires the police agency to contact ICE before releasing them from custody.

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Information on future court appearances was not immediately available.