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Planned protest fails to hide cosmetics heist


A group of thieves hoping to take advantage of today's immigration protest looted a township cosmetics warehouse but were busted early Saturday morning.

The men planned their crime at the Medicia Corp. off Route 130 to coincide with the "A Day Without Immigrants" boycott, believing low employee turnout today would divert attention away from the missing products, police said.

"The company told us it has low expectations of what production would be (today)," Det. James Ryan said. "In that confusion, (the thieves) hoped there would be a delay in detecting" the theft.

But Medicia officials became aware of the plan Friday and alerted South Brunswick police.

Investigators were stationed around the 10-acre complex to monitor activity. Around 1 a.m. Saturday, authorities observed the men stack more than 200 cases of Victoria's Secret hand and body lotion outside the building. Then they pulled a Ford Windstar with its headlights off to the rear of the building, loading it with the merchandise. Two of the thieves then began to leave the area in the minivan.

Officers moved in and arrested Bulmero Mendoza, 34, of Tennessee and Jose Sanchez, 33, of Carteret in the front lot of the warehouse as the pair moved the merchandise to another vehicle.

Two other men fled into a wooded area and were not apprehended. They are both believed to be from the New Brunswick area.

Police recovered more than $43,000 in stolen merchandise. In addition, police seized three vehicles used by the thieves a Ford Windstar, a Chevy Astro van, and a Toyota 4Runner.

Mendoza and Lopez were charged with theft and placed in the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in lieu of $20,000 bail.

At least some of the thieves worked for Medicia and tried to use today's planned protest to cover their criminal activity, police said. The protest encourages immigrants to boycott work, school and shopping to show how much they matter to their communities. The nationwide effort strives to show displeasure with recent immigration-reform moves in Congress.

thieves then began to leave the area in the minivan.

Officers moved in and arrested Bulmero Mendoza, 34, of Tennessee and Jose Sanchez, 33, of Carteret in the front lot of the warehouse as the pair moved the merchandise to another vehicle.

Two other men fled into a wooded area and were not apprehended. They are both believed to be from the New Brunswick area.

Police recovered more than $43,000 in stolen merchandise. In addition, police seized three vehicles used by the thieves a Ford Windstar, a Chevy Astro van, and a Toyota 4Runner.

Mendoza and Lopez were charged with theft and placed in the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in lieu of $20,000 bail.

At least some of the thieves worked for Medicia and tried to use today's planned protest to cover their criminal activity, police said. The protest encourages immigrants to boycott work, school and shopping to show how much they matter to their communities. The nationwide effort strives to show displeasure with recent immigration-reform moves in Congress.