Metro Detroit police departments join forces to crack down on alleged crime ring of Ulta thieves

ulta arrest
Posted at 6:30 AM, Jan 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-20 07:03:02-05

(WXYZ) — A country-wide problem is making its way to Michigan. Thieves have been ransacking Ulta beauty stores across the country stealing thousands of dollars worth of products in minutes.

Police across metro Detroit are now joining forces to crack down on the alleged crime ring in Michigan.

“In this area, we are approximately around 20 stores give or take,” Warren PD detective Michael Kohlruss said.

That’s 20 Ulta stores ransacked around metro Detroit in less than a month.

Each robbery starts the same. A group of people enter a store and immediately fill their baskets with expensive fragrances and dart for the door.

"We started to compare notes and found out it's probably the same individuals," Kohlruss said.

Surveillance footage taken from an Ulta Beauty Store in Warren shows three women connected to at least 7 thefts in Royal Oak, Shelby Township, and Troy to name a few.

The women stole nearly $150,000 in goods. Five women were busted for the same offense earlier this month in Green Oak Township.

“Do you think this is a crime ring," 7 Action New Reporter Kiara Hay asks Troy Police caption, Josh Jones.

"Yea because of the similarity that is occurring. The same store and the same products are being stolen. I think it’s at least loosely organized,” he said.

Perfumes and colognes are left unlocked at Ulta stores and have a high resale value.

For example, a bottle of Acqua Di Gio cologne retails for $150. On eBay, the same bottle advertised as brand new is going for $135.

"They were in and out of the store in approximately one minute and six seconds and walked out with $7,400 worth of product," Detective Kohlruss said.

7 Action News reached out to Ulta Stores to see if they were making any changes to address the issue and a spokesperson sent this statement.

"Organized Retail Crime impacts manufacturers, consumers, employees and communities. As our assortment, store footprint and brand awareness have grown, Ulta Beauty has increasingly become a target for these criminals. The safety of our guests and associates is always our highest priority. Our policies and practices reflect the ever-evolving retail landscape and include a variety of best practices and trainings to mitigate threats. Our Loss Prevention team continues to partner with law enforcement and other retailers across the country to address this issue and bring criminals to justice."

Thankfully, no customer or guest has been injured so far following these thefts. Detective Kohlruss adds that no weapons have been found when making arrests.