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Police: Woman was fencing stolen laundry detergent, cosmetics

Police: Woman was fencing stolen laundry detergent, cosmetics
Austin Police Department

POSTED: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - 6:59pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - 7:14pm

Police have arrested a woman they say sold tens of thousands of dollars in shoplifted laundry detergent, batteries, shampoo and other cosmetic items at flea markets and from her Southeast Austin home.

Maria Patricia Villegas, 40, has been charged with organized retail theft, a state jail felony. Travis County Jail records indicate that she is no longer in custody. Police say Villegas and her husband, 48-year-old Nicholas Villegas, were selling massive quantities of stolen items for profit. Police are still searching for Nicholas Villegas and have issued arrest warrants for six other suspected accomplices, officials said.

Investigators were stunned by the sheer amount of goods fenced through Villegas' operation, said officer Dustin Smart, who worked on the sting operation that led to her arrest.

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Information from Austin American-Statesman

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