A simple August 22nd vehicle stop for the alleged theft of a handful of videogames from a local Toys "R" US store revealed a four-man, multi-state crime spree according to Anne Arundel County, Maryland police. The series of events that lead to the arrest of four New York men began at a Parole, Maryland ToysRUs, where an off-duty police officer became suspicous of four men browsing the games section of the store.
Jerome Drwin, a police officer with the Takoma Park Police Department was shopping at Toys "R" US with his two young sons when he noticed that four men (Rodney McCreary, 28, Gilberto Matos, 37, Derrella Winfrey, 35, from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Wilfredo Matos, 30, of Staten Island) were milling about the video game section of the store. Drwin said that a noise from the video game department raised his suspicions. When he went to that part of the store he observed that two of the men - McCreary and Matos - were walking out of the store with "video games stuffed down their pant legs and waistlines." They did not stop at the registers as they passed to pay for the merchandise, instead making a beeline to a Chevrolet Impala parked on the side of the store where the two other men waited. After placing the merchandise in the trunk, the men got into the car and left the parking lot, making their way to Interstate I-96.
Off-duty and with his two sons, Drwin decided that he would not confront the men, but would instead be a "good witness." He got into his car with his sons and followed the four men down West Street to westbound Route 50. At this point, Drwin called county police as he tailed the Impala heading northbound on I-97.
The County police eventually caught up with the four men and pulled them over. After getting permission to search the car (along with the usual denials about committing the crime in question), police found a cache of stolen items from other Toys "R" Us stores, along with wire cutters and a blue plastic tool used to remove anti-theft devices from video games and compact discs. But the lion's share of stolen games were in the trunk; there they found duffel bags and backpacks loaded with hundreds of video games. Underneath the back seat, officers also found road maps and written lists of Toys “R” Us stores up and down the east coast.
An inventory of all the videogames found in the Impala totaled 219 stolen items, which police valued at around $9,000. Further, a handwritten list in the car noted Toys "R" Us stores in Waldorf and Columbia, Maryland, as well as in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Police say that they will inform other Toys "R" Us stores about what they have found - in hopes that other shoplifting cases can be properly attributed to the four men.