GLENS FALLS — Two Connecticut women were arrested Sunday for stealing wallets and purses from staff members at two Glens Falls restaurants and a store in Aviation Mall, and police said they are believed to be responsible for a spree of thefts around the Capital District in recent days.
Kayana M. Santos, 25, and Tabatha M. Garafalo, 35, both of Waterbury, Connecticut, face felony and misdemeanor charges for the thefts from Thai Sushi Aroy Dee and Mikado in Glens Falls and an unspecified store in Aviation Mall, according to Glens Falls Police.
They were also charged by State Police from the Queensbury station for taking a purse while in a business in Aviation Mall and are suspected of similar thefts at businesses in Albany, Columbia and Saratoga counties in recent days.
Glens Falls Police Detective Lt. Peter Casertino said the duo stole purses and wallets that belonged to staff members at the two eateries Saturday night.
“They used the cash that was stolen, but so far we don’t have any indications they used the credit cards,” Casertino said.
They seemed to have targeted mainly Asian-run businesses around the region for reasons that were unknown, as the women would not discuss their alleged crimes with police after they were arrested. It may have been because they believed immigration concerns or a language barrier might have lessened the chance that police were called, he noted.
They were located Sunday at Aviation Mall, after staff at Thai Sushi Aroy Dee posted surveillance video pictures and information about the crimes on Facebook, leading to posts being shared and to tips to police that the women had been spotted at a nail salon in Aviation Mall on Sunday afternoon. State Police charged them with the Queensbury thefts.
Police have recovered some of the stolen items and identification. They believe the women stayed in a local motel Saturday night, but have not determined where.
Both women were charged with felony counts of grand larceny and misdemeanor counts of petit larceny and conspiracy, while Santos was also charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia, police records show.
Both women were arraigned Sunday and sent to Warren County Jail. No bail was set for Garafalo, as she was wanted on a parole violation in Connecticut.
Casertino, Glens Falls Police officers William Holmes and Andrew Mija and Detective Sgt. Joseph Boisclair handled the case in Glens Falls.