CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy News)—Katy Police arrested and charged two women with theft Thursday at the Katy Mills Mall.

Police said Teniqua Baines, 33, of Houston, was charged with theft with two or more prior convictions, a felony, and possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor. Visha Reed, 35, of Houston, was charged with theft and possession of a controlled substance. Both are misdemeanors.

Police said the arrests are a result of a joint operation aimed at catching shoplifters that targeted Katy Mills Mall stores. The operation involved loss prevention officers, Katy Mills Mall security, and Katy Police.

In performing the arrests, officers said they watched Baines and Reed enter several retail stores with empty, handmade booster bags, which are used by professional shoplifters to steal items from stores with security detection devices. Officers watched the women put merchandise into the bags and leave the stores without purchasing the items.

Booster bags provide electromagnetic shielding so that electronic security tags inside the bag may not be detected by the store’s anti-theft system. They often use aluminum foil to line the inside of the homemade bags. In this case the women were found with foil and duct tape.

Police arrested the women in the mall parking lot and recovered $1,192 in merchandise, two booster bags, plyers used to cut off security sensors, and material used for making the booster bags. Police also found illegal drugs.

Police said both Bains and Reed have extensive criminal histories.

The cases will be referred to the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s office.

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