Novato police arrested a woman on Friday who they say helped herself to thousands of dollars worth of merchandise — without paying — at the Vintage Oaks mall, as well as the woman who owned the alleged van.
Police first attended the mall at 11:17 a.m. to investigate a reported robbery at a designer shoe warehouse (DSW), police Lt. Sophia Winter said.
DSW employees told police “a woman wearing pink clothing entered the store and stole more than $900 worth of shoes and merchandise” before driving off in a white Honda van, Winter said.
While investigating the DSW robbery, officers received another report that the suspected thief wearing pink had struck again, this time with $3,000 worth of Ulta Beauty “cosmetics” nearby, a report said. Winter said.
By the time officers reached Ulta, the suspect was gone, but they spotted the van parked near the target in the same mall. They looked at the van and about 30 minutes later a woman in pink – Tammi Jean Jones, 56, from San Francisco – showed up.
Officers arrested Jones and found Target security guards had just done the same thing after Jones tried to leave the store with a basket full of clothes worth $2,700, Winter said. They spotted items stolen from DSW and Ulta in plain view inside the white van, as well as $1,800 of liquor stolen from a Sonoma County store earlier in the day, Winter said.
“Jones initially provided officers at the scene with a false name and was later identified by prison records,” Winter said.
The van’s registered owner, Melisa Ann Lynn Rodriguez, 32, also of San Francisco, was at DSW at the same time as Jones but was “not seen picking up any items,” Winter said. Officers found her near a mattress business in the mall and discovered she had multiple outstanding warrants for her arrest – along with “controlled substances, ammunition and paraphernalia for consumption drugs” in his possession, Winter said.
Jones was charged with robbery, commercial burglary, false police identification and possession of stolen property, Winter said. She was not listed as being held Monday, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office booking log. She could not be reached for comment.
Rodriguez was incarcerated in the Marin County Jail on suspicion of felony possession of ammunition, drug and paraphernalia possession and outstanding warrants.