GPS tracker on merchandise helps police find woman accused of stealing more than $17K from Ulta

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. — Organized retail theft is skyrocketing.


The National Retail Federation said nearly 70% of retailers reported an increase in this criminal activity last year.

In a matter of three minutes, investigators said suspects stole more than $17,000 worth of perfume and cologne from an Ulta in Altamonte Springs.

What’s unique about the case is how police caught up with one of the burglars.

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According to a police report, “one of the perfume bottles had a GPS tracker concealed in the box.”

John Lippens said one of the suspects ended up in his backyard.

“I immediately get on 911 because I don’t know if it’s someone that could be dangerous,” he said. “Usually it’s bear getting over the fence or we have had raccoons – that type of thing. A person coming over – I never expected.

Zahria Keaton, 24, was arrested.

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As of last check, the search continues for the second suspect.

Florida recently formed a task force to help spot theft trends and catch suspects.

“(It) allows us to put together the pieces to identify the larger-scale criminal organizations that are going into our stores and are stealing large amounts of merchandise,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody.

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These crimes have become more sophisticated and complex.

The Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail estimates that it costs retailers roughly $45 billion every year.

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