ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Prosecutors charged three adults this week in connection with two big-ticket retail thefts last year in St. Louis County.
Veronica Cooper, 52; Marla King, 29; and Ronald Payne, 40, face charges in connection with two shoplifting cases from September 2022.
According to court documents obtained by FOX 2, Cooper and King targeted a Polo Ralph Lauren store at the St. Louis Premium Outlets Mall, while Payne targeted a Macy’s store in Richmond Heights.
While both cases happened in the same month and led to thousands of dollars worth of stolen merchandise, they are not linked to each other.
Investigators say Cooper and King worked together with two juveniles to steal more than $1,400 worth of items on Sept. 24, 2022. King and the juveniles reportedly returned the next day and attempted to steal another $500 worth of items before being stopped by an employee.
Per court documents, King was arrested and claimed she was stealing from the store “at the behest” of Cooper. King told authorities that Cooper paid her for stealing merchandise and provided details about their communications. Cooper was later arrested, but denied committing any thefts or knowing King, per court documents.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Cooper and King with one felony count of stealing ($750 or more) on Tuesday. Both have criminal setting hearings scheduled for Nov. 27.
Payne faces charges in connection with a Macy’s theft on Sept. 17, 2022, which resulted in nearly $3,000 worth of stolen merchandise.
Court documents allege that Payne grabbed several clothing items and “passed all points of final sale and made no attempts to pay.” Two security guards witnessed Payne grabbing clothing items and some items falling out of his arms. The guards were able to detain Payne by the time officers arrived, per court documents.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Payne with one felony count of stealing ($750 or more) on Monday. Per Missouri court records, Payne has a criminal history dating back to 2001 for stealing and burglary charges, plus other offenses.