Five people stole nearly $94,000 worth of items, like the...

Five people stole nearly $94,000 worth of items, like the handbag above, in a robbery in March at a high-end East Hampton retailer, authorities said. Credit: James Carbone

Wazir Rodgers, 25, of Newark, has pleaded guilty to helping steal nearly $94,000 in handbags from East Hampton luxury retailer Balenciaga, after which he and other suspects fled police at high speeds, prosecutors said Friday. 

On Tuesday, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office said Baseemah Davis, 34, also of Newark pleaded guilty in the thefts.

Rodgers and Davis were among four people arrested for the March robbery, prosecutors said. Newark residents Ali Harris, 28 and Jamal Johns, 26, were also charged and have cases pending. 

Rodgers pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the second degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, according to prosecutors.

“Now, he is yet another defendant who has pleaded guilty for his part in committing this retail theft. I cannot emphasize this enough, organized retail theft in Suffolk County will not be tolerated and if you attempt to steal property that does not belong to you, we will catch you and send you to prison.” Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney said in a news release.

Davis pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of stolen property and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, prosecutors said.

 

On March 3, a woman, who has not yet been identified, was seen about 1:30 p.m. on a surveillance camera entering the East Hampton Balenciaga store wearing a pink ski mask, talking on the phone and looking at handbags, prosecutors said in court documents. The woman then asked a store clerk if her shoe size was available.

As the clerk retrieved the shoe, Rodgers, Davis, Harris and Johns rushed into the store and took handbags from the shelves before fleeing and getting into a Dodge Durango, according to prosecutors.

East Hampton police located the Durango but stopped pursuing it when the SUV wove in and out of traffic near 100 mph, prosecutors said. A state trooper also saw the Durango but stopped pursuing because the SUV was traveling at a high speed. Prosecutors did not reveal who was driving the SUV.

The Durango eventually broke down on the Long Island Expressway in Wading River, where local and state police caught the four suspects. The unidentified woman avoided arrest and fled into a wooded area.

Police recovered 34 stolen handbags, prosecutors said. Balenciaga handbags can run up to $30,000.

Rodgers is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 19, while Davis is scheduled to return to court on Sept. 23 for sentencing.

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