Month-long investigation into retail theft ring leads to five arrests

MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A month-long investigation into an organized retail theft ring has resulted in criminal charges for five people out of Montgomery, Alabama.

December 19th just before 9 p.m. Walton County Sheriff's Deputies responded to Tommy Hilfiger located at Silversands Outlet Mall on U.S. Highway 98 regarding a group seen shoplifting from the store.

Deputies responded quickly and found four out of the five suspects. They say Hernando James, 19, was seen carrying a Tommy Hilfiger bag with several clothing items inside. Deputies took a quick look at surveillance video from the store showed James entering the store without a shopping bag and purchasing two items. They say more than two pieces of clothing were found in the bag.

James was arrested for grand theft on scene along with Stevonda O’Neal, 24, who was an out-of-state fugitive. Deputies say during the investigation, Rameshia Hatcher, 25, provided a false name to law enforcement. They say her mother, Ophelia Hatcher, 45, knew Rameshia was giving a false name while they both spoke to deputies on scene. Deputies say a car was located in the parking lot beside a large pile of clothes. Inside of the vehicle were several garbage bags and store alarm tags. Deputies say the vehicle was seized to be searched later.

Investigators say they found more than $6,000 in stolen merchandise inside of the car from several different stores including Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works, Justice, Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger. Investigators say they found out the names of all those involved later, including the identity of Rameshia Hatcher.

Deputies say James, Shakina Letresssa Hall, 32,
Rameshia Hatcher, and Ophelia Hatcher are all charged with coordinate other in the theft over $3,000. Rameshia and Ophelia Hatcher are also being charged with providing false information to a law enforcement officer.