Temple crime

Temple Ulta store thefts could be connected to a larger operation under investigation by state and possibly federal agents.

Temple Police Department investigated a felony theft at Temple’s Ulta at 2112 SW HK Dodgen Loop on April 2 in which about $11,000 worth of merchandise was taken by two women who allegedly threatened a store employee.

The case was taken to the Bell County Attorney’s Office for review, Temple Police spokesman Chris Christoff said Thursday.

The same day as the theft in Temple, another one happened at about 8:40 p.m. in Waco at 2452 West Loop 340, Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said.

“There appear to be similarities in the Temple and Waco cases,” Swinton said Thursday.

Two black females walked into the store carrying large blue mesh bags. They started putting multiple things into the bags and left the store without paying. The value of the theft of perfumes and cosmetics was about $9,560, Swanton said.

  Waco Police have been in contact with U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigators who are working a multi-theft ring hitting several locations. Waco is cooperating and forwarding information to Homeland Security, according to Swanton.

The latest incident involving the Temple Ulta store occurred sometime before 2:26 a.m. Monday. Signs of forced entry were found, and video surveillance showed two suspects thought to be males. About $3,900 in merchandise was taken, and the case is active, Christoff said.

Temple’s Ulta was also the target in September 2018 of another large theft in which three people allegedly took 45 bottles of perfume with a value more than $4,000.

A Homeland Security agent contacted Temple Police about the case at Ulta, but Christoff said it’s unsure what direction the investigation will take.

“Once the DA makes a decision on this case, the agent from Homeland Security will be notified,” Christoff said.

The investigation is multijurisdictional now, and spans Central and North Texas.

“The charges are currently at a state level,” Christoff said.