Authorities say the five are connected to a string of retail thefts totaling more than $100,000 in stolen merchandise.
The first case involved three suspects accused of stealing $93,000 in handbags from Louis Vuitton in Bellevue in June. A fourth suspect is accused of selling the stolen bags. According to investigators, the group hit the luxury brand store twice in June.
Detectives found the stolen bags for sale online, arranged a buy, then arrested one of the suspects.
The King County Prosecutor’s Office charged Billy Chambers, Memory Yearby and Earnetra Turner with two counts of first-degree organized retail theft, and Trey Kendall with first-degree trafficking stolen property.
All four have extensive criminal histories. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Chambers was convicted of killing "Tuba Man" Edward McMichael in 2008 and is also the subject of an ongoing Seattle Police investigation, while Yearby faces second-degree identity theft charges from another case.
"These suspects were aggressive and coordinated in their efforts and often physically confronted employees or security who stood in their way," said Bellevue Police Cpt. Shelby Shearer. "[This] crew also caused significant damage to the stores during the thefts, causing some businesses to close for the day to clean up the mess."
The second case involved 24-year-old Janay Luckey, who is suspected of stealing around $13,000 in merchandise from Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack in Bellevue. This occurred over several hits in Oct. and Nov. 2021, according to police, where Luckey would walk in, cut the security tags off items and then left without paying.
Authorities say Luckey sold the merchandise online. The Prosecutor’s Office charged her with first-degree organized retail theft and two counts of first-degree trafficking stolen property. She also faces five counts of organized retail theft and trafficking in a separate case in Seattle, totaling over $84,000.
The third case involved a $7,000 theft from Ulta in Factoria, which reportedly involved a suspect in the Louis Vuitton theft, though police did not specify who. Detectives say they and another suspect stole 62 bottles of perfume, then escaped in a rental car.
"We joined the state’s Organized Retail Task Force committed to cracking down on this crime," said Shearer. "These cases involved regional collaboration and partnerships with other law enforcement agencies and the affected businesses. Arresting these suspects reduces crime not only in Bellevue but regionally."
Authorities say more charges are expected.