LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Two people were arrested Tuesday in connection with an organized retail theft "fencing" operation in Los Angeles, and nearly $200,000 worth of stolen merchandise was recovered.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the suspects - a 47-year-old man from L.A. and a 43-year-old woman from Panorama City - were using a makeshift storefront-style display in downtown to sell the stolen retail merchandise.
More than 13,000 items, which were mainly from Victoria's Secret and CVS stores, were recovered, carrying a value of $198,000, CHP said.
CHP says a "fence" refers to people who buy stolen merchandise from those who commit smash-and-grab robberies and then sell it all at seemingly legitimate businesses, swap meets, or online.
"Maybe not all parties have been apprehended as of yet," said CHP Ofc. Chris Baldonado. "So it's a constant ongoing investigation. As you know, a lot of these smash-and-grabs have been going on throughout L.A. County, if not across the state and nation, so we're trying to see if there are any connections between a lot of these. It may be one solidified incident and may be a connection to different ones."
The Southland has been subject to an increasing number of retail thefts by large groups that target different stores or certain malls with high-end merchandise.
Suspects grab a large quantity of merchandise often using tools to break glass display cases and cut security cords -- or smash-and-grabs.
Last month, law enforcement agencies across L.A. County announced the Organized Retail Crimes Task Force, which was created to tackle the alarming increase in these crimes.
In addition, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the "CHP will triple its resources" in the L.A. area when it comes to solving these crimes and even added more investigators to help.