Arlington Mall Worker Schemed to Steal Merchandise, Police Say

A maintenance worker in the Pentagon City mall stole heaps of store merchandise over the course of several months after he tried and failed to disable security cameras, police say.

Michael Meza-Guevara was arrested after police in Arlington, Virginia said surveillance footage and 69 pairs of shoes found in his home suggest he stole from Foot Locker and other stores in the Fashion Center at Pentagon City.

Workers noticed items in stores had gone missing and then checked surveillance cameras, Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said. The footage showed Meza-Guevara wheeling a large, mostly empty trash bin and then, nine minutes later, wheeling it away full and covered by a blanket.

That footage was enough for officials to obtain a warrant to search Meza-Guevara's home in Fairfax County. Investigators found 69 pairs of shoes in boxes, 8 pairs of boots, 9 women's purses and perfume.

Meza-Guevara, who worked in mall maintenance for several years, tried to cover his tracks by disabling surveillance cameras, but there was something he didn't bargain for, Sternbeck said.

“He thought he was getting away with cutting the power to the stores...however, surveillance cameras did catch him because they operated on battery backup," he said.

Meza-Guevara is being held at the Arlington County jail.

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“Who knows what he was doing with the merchandise, and from there, there could be potentially additional charges," Sternbeck said.

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