Two Women Use Walmart App to Steal $100,000 Worth of Items, Police Say

Two women were arrested in Arizona after police said they stole $100,000 worth of merchandise from several Walmart stores by appearing to pay for their purchases using smartphones.

Arizona's Mesa Police Department said Mary Garcia, 47, and Melinda Rodriguez, 38—who were arrested on June 17—face several counts of organized retail theft.

FOX 10 Phoenix reported that an investigation of the alleged thefts began in March after a "series of suspicious transactions" involving an in-store scanning app was detected by Walmart's loss prevention team.

Mesa PD said: "The suspects would enter the stores and scan the items using a smartphone in order to use the quick pay at the checkout.

"The problem was once they reached the checkout, payment was bypassed, and they simply walked out with the unpaid merchandise. By using the app, the suspects gave the appearance that they were paying for the items," the police explained.

According to Mesa PD, in Maricopa County alone, Garcia accounted for around $72,000 of the stolen goods, while Rodriguez took about $34,000 worth of items.

FOX 10 Phoenix reported that this type of theft was allegedly carried out by the suspects at Walmart venues in California, Utah, Colorado and Texas, in addition to Arizona.

The department said: "Thefts of this type can cause retailers to raise prices to compensate for loss. By arresting thieves who steal large amounts of merchandise, prices are kept at bay for the everyday honest consumer."

Newsweek contacted Mesa PD and Walmart for comment.

Other Walmart theft-related incidents

Last week, a Walmart customer claimed a "Karen" worker ordered him to leave the store, after accusing him of shoplifting while trying a shirt on.

TikTok user @uglahnose shared a clip of the incident and it received over 2 million views at the time of reporting.

"I was trying a shirt on at Walmart and Karen thought I was stealing," the user wrote on screen.

In the video, a boy can be seen trying on a shirt in the clothing section, filming himself to see what it looked like.

"Take that shirt off and put your shirt back on and get steppin'," said a woman as she approached the customer.

The boy later responded: "What are you talking about? I'm not even trying to steal, I'm just trying it on."

Back in early June, the body of a Walmart theft suspect was found under the deck of a home in Utah nearly a week after he was being sought by police over the alleged crime.

The Syracuse Police Department said at the time that detectives had determined that the deceased person was one of two suspects being sought in connection with a theft at a Walmart store several days earlier, local media reported at the time.

In December 2019, a woman in Ohio was accused of choosing a particularly ill-advised time to shoplift at Walmart. The suspect was accused of stealing a jacket while the store contained more than a dozen police officers taking part in an annual "Cops & Kids" Christmas shopping event.

A Walmart store in California.
Customers seen outside a Walmart store in San Leandro, California, in September 2019. Two women in Arizona were arrested after being accused of stealing $100,000 worth of items at several Walmart stores using an in-store scanning app on their smartphones. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images