Ekaterina Zharkova Accused of Stealing Over $300,000 in Merchandise From California Stores

A California woman has been charged with grand theft after allegedly stealing a hefty amount of store merchandise.

Ekaterina Zharkova, 38, of Costa Mesa, California, was arrested in November after allegedly stealing over $300,000 from stores around Orange County. According to reports, the alleged thefts occurred from October 7 to November 23, the day of her arrest. She was arrested after a member of the California Highway Patrol's Organized Retail Theft task force allegedly saw Zharkova shoplifting from a Nordstrom Rack.

According to a report from KTLA, Zharkova had allegedly covered items with a coat and used a device that allegedly removed the security sensors on the products before walking out of the store. She was subsequently arrested but is currently out on $20,000 bond.

When investigators went to Zharkova's apartment with a search warrant, they reportedly found stolen goods worth around $328,000. According to the CHP, stolen merchandise was reportedly "packed wall to wall in every room" throughout Zharkova's apartment. Some of the products that allegedly were stolen were from Prada, Gucci, Dodo Bar, Jimmy Choo, and other high-end fashion brands. Investigators say that she allegedly was trying to sell the goods on an online consignment store.

"Shoplifting and other retail theft is out of control across California as a result of reckless laws that have made the risk far less than the potential reward," said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer in a statement. "These are not victimless crimes and if you engage in these kinds of outrageous theft schemes we're going to arrest you, we're going to prosecute you, and we're putting you behind bars."

Spitzer maintained his commitment to ensuring retail theft in Southern California would not go unnoticed. "I have assigned some of my most experienced investigators to work with the California Highway Patrol's organized retail theft task force and the Orange County Sheriff's Department to help protect Orange County businesses from being victimized and protect consumers from increased costs," he continued. "We're not tolerating this in Orange County."

Zharkova will be arraigned on February 3, 2022. She was arrested on four counts of grand theft, one count of receiving stolen property, and seven counts of petty theft. She faces a maximum sentence of nine years in prison.

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A Costa Mesa, California, woman is accused of stealing over $300,000 in merchandise from stores. In this photo illustration, a woman's hands are in handcuffs behind her back. choochart choochaikupt/Getty

It's not known whether Zharkova has an attorney who can speak on her behalf.

The charge comes amid a rash of large-scale thefts in California in which groups of individuals brazenly rush into stores and take goods in plain sight.

In September, Zharkova pleaded not guilty to a separate felony grand theft charge and misdemeanor charge of possession of burglary tools, according to court records.

She also pleaded not guilty in a felony grand theft case in Los Angeles filed in August, the Orange County Register reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.