A thieving duo from California roamed the Twin Cities and swiped more than $37,000 in high-end eyeglass frames until they were pulled over and caught with the stolen goods in their vehicle, authorities said.
Charged in Anoka County District Court with multiple theft felonies are Beverly S. Jara, 38, and Hector Astudillo, 27.
According to the criminal complaints made public this week:
Early in the afternoon on Oct. 4, Astudillo and Jara arrived at the LensCrafters in Northtown Mall in Blaine and "were suspiciously looking at eyeglass frames without setting up an appointment."
Soon after the two left, the manager saw that $5,000 to $10,000 worth of frames had been stolen from the area where Jara and Astudillo had been.
The manager reviewed video surveillance and saw the two placing the frames in their pockets and replacing them with cheaper ones.
Police collected similar reports of thefts on that day and the day before from other retailers, including the Vision Works stores in Blaine, Roseville, Minnetonka, Crystal and St. Louis Park.
Later on Oct. 4, Jara and Astudillo were pulled over during a traffic stop near Ridgedale in Minnetonka. On the floor of the passenger side was a partly open backpack holding many pairs of frames with the price tags attached.
Officers searched the vehicle and confiscated 160 pair of stolen eyeglass frames worth $37,045.19. Police scrutinized video surveillance from all of the stores and saw the man and his pregnant cohort stealing the frames.