Arrests made in spate of Falmouth store thefts

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FALMOUTH — Police have arrested three men from New York in what authorities are calling an organized shoplifting scheme.

The men, all from Brooklyn, were arrested Sept. 14 after police confronted them as they exited the Walmart on U.S. Route 1, according to Lt. John Kilbride of the Falmouth Police Department.

“The suspects utilized sophisticated equipment to communicate and compromise the security measures of the targeted stores,” Kilbride said in a press release issued late last week.

Those arrested are Gaga Kavtaradze, 39, Levan Shubitidze, 41, and Devid Devdze, 27. All three have been charged with organized retail theft, which is a Class C felony.

Kavtaradze is also facing a charge of possession of burglar tools, as is Shubitidzea, who, like Devdze, is also facing a charge of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer.

Kilbride said the investigation is still ongoing and further charges or arrests could be forthcoming.

“The suspect vehicle has been seized pending a search warrant, and we are confident further stolen merchandise will be recovered,” the release added. “Falmouth Police detectives will be working with other law enforcement agencies and retail businesses to establish the actual scope” of the thefts.

Kilbride said Monday that the thieves “stole a lot of alcohol and dozens of boxes of teeth whitening strips” from stores in town, which included Rite Aid and Shaw’s supermarket, also located on Route 1.

He said the thieves had somehow gained access to the special keys that unlock the anti-theft caps on liquor bottles and used bags lined with aluminum foil to avoid detection.

In all, Kilbride said, merchandise worth between $15,000 and $20,000 was found in their vehicle.

He said authorities are unsure whether the group planned to sell the stolen items, but called it “a big operation” likely affecting several communities in multiple states.