The young women walked so quickly, grabbed items from the shelves so confidently, that employees at the Glenarden J.C. Penney might have thought they were out shopping for Mother’s Day.
Except this was their second trip to the store that day. And Mom probably did not ask for $20,000 in perfume and makeup.
The women, police said at a news conference Friday, were professional shoplifters — bit players in an organized ring of cosmetically-inclined thieves. Three and four times a day, police said, Darquesha Wilkinson, 19, and Latasha Mungo, 24, both of the District, would walk into department stores across the region, swipe high-end perfume, lotions and makeup, then sell them on the streets at a discount, often out of the trunks of their cars. And until Tuesday — when a J.C. Penney loss-prevention employee recognized the pair as suspects in previous shoplifting incidents — they hadn’t been charged there, blending in with other shoppers because they were charming and well-dressed, police said.