Police: Lengthy investigation turns up $500,000 in stolen make-up

Berkeley police investigators say they uncovered a large stolen make-up operation targeting Bay Area businesses. Photos: BPD

Berkeley police say they have recovered an estimated $500,000 worth of stolen make-up and arrested a San Leandro couple tied to a theft and robbery series targeting CVS and Walgreens stores around the Bay Area.

The arrests and cosmetics recovery, which required two truck trips to haul away, were the result of “lengthy investigations” involving multiple law enforcement agencies, authorities said Friday morning.

Wednesday at 7:30 a.m., officers arrested 43-year-old Rosa Jimenez and her boyfriend, 50-year-old Enrique Rodriguez, in San Leandro on suspicion of receiving stolen goods and being an accessory to a felony, according to Berkeley police. They were arrested after police searched Jimenez’s home in the 2000 block of San Leandro Boulevard and a nearby storage unit.

Police said they found “a large amount of stolen cosmetics and other items,” including property with CVS and Walgreens stickers still on them. Tallying is still underway, but a ballpark estimate put the value of the cosmetics and other stolen goods at half a million dollars, authorities said. The cosmetics may have been sold at flea markets and online.


Investigators identified Jimenez as the person buying stolen items after several arrests in San Francisco earlier this year, police said. In January and February, CVS and Walgreens stores in Berkeley were robbed five times. In those cases, someone would grab a bunch of make-up and run out, threatening clerks who tried to intervene. On Feb. 6, four people were arrested at a San Francisco Walgreens, and three ultimately were charged with 29 crimes, according to authorities. That included the five Berkeley robberies.

As that case moved forward, investigators zeroed in on Jimenez and ultimately got an arrest warrant for her, and a search warrant for her home.

Berkeley police investigators worked with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and Police Department, and the Organized Retail Crime Task Force — which includes CVS, Walgreens and JC Penny investigators — to solve the case.

According to online records from the Alameda County sheriff’s office, Rodriguez has been released from custody after posting bail.

Jimenez remains at Berkeley Jail and is being held without bail. She is scheduled for arraignment Friday morning at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.