On Thursday, former KTXL “FOX40 News” reporter and news anchor Sabrina Rodriguez was arrested and charged with three felony counts stemming from a shoplifting scheme in March 2013.
According to court records, Rodriguez and her fiancé — identified as Nicholas Gray — were involved in a string of shoplifting incidents involving local outlet retailers throughout Northern California. Portions of the court records were reported Monday evening by KOVR-TV. Rodriguez was detained last March outside a Coach outlet store near Sacramento in connection with the scheme, according to documents cited by the station.
Coincidentally, Rodriguez interviewed an anonymous shoplifter for a KTXL story that aired three months before the March incident. In the story, Rodriguez interviews a man who admits to stealing nearly a dozen brand-name bags valued at approximately $220 one day before Christmas.
Shortly after KCRA reported on Rodriguez’s arrest, KTXL pulled the story and associated video from their website. The station also deleted social media posts that referenced the story. A copy of the report as it appeared on the station’s website before it was deleted was forwarded to The Desk by a KTXL employee who asked to remain anonymous. The complete report appears below:
Shoplifters Capitalize on Holiday Season
By: Sabrina Rodriguez | Reporter
The Christmas season is synonymous with shopping, but it’s also a prime time for shoplifting.
FOX40 spoke with an anonymous shoplifter who said this is the only time of year he steals.
“It’s a numbers game; there’s just too many people to keep an eye on,” he explained, “There’s people who do this daily and that’s all they do, but the constant trips back to the same places, you get recognized.”
His method of shoplifting, or “boosting” as it’s sometimes called, can be different from others. “Some people like to go in and act like they’re shopping,” he said, “My preferred method is just speed.”
The reason for that is because until he walks out of the store with the items, he technically hasn’t stolen anything, but chances are Loss Prevention is watching. “If I grab something, walk around the store and continue to look at things that gives (Loss Prevention) time to position themselves at the door,” he explained, “It’s a race if they can get me.”
A lot of damage can be done in a short amount of time. The shoplifter showed us eleven bags he had taken in 30 minutes on Christmas Eve. The brands were Michael Kors, Coach, or J-Crew and each bag retailed for about $220, meaning there was over $2,400 in stolen merchandise.
However the shoplifter doesn’t make nearly that much.
“Usually the return on that is 20-25 percent,” he said, “I’m selling these goods to someone who sells them again.”
Each bag will be sold for about $45, meaning he makes just under $500. “I could sell them online and get 70-80% of ticket price, but I’d rather be over and done with it,” he said, “With the money that I’m making off of stolen goods I don’t need to be more greedy than I already am. 25% is fine with me.”
He added he will do it again next year.
Shoplifting has a lot of negative consequences; stores are not getting potential revenue, the cost of products is driven up, and communities lose out because they’re not getting money from the sales tax.
KTXL has not explained why the station pulled the story from the website. A KTXL spokesperson has not yet returned a request from The Desk for comment.
Last week, KTXL news director Ed Chapuis told The Desk that Rodriguez had been placed on voluntary leave from the station while she deals with the criminal charges. On Tuesday, Rodriguez announced her resignation, citing “media attention” and a desire to “re-establish my good name.”
Mark Reichel, a criminal defense attorney retained by Rodriguez, told The Desk by e-mail on Saturday that his client “is 100% innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.” Rodriguez is expected to be arraigned on August 29.