EAST HAMPTON, NY — A New Jersey woman pleaded guilty on Tuesday to stealing nearly $94,000 worth of handbags from the Balenciaga luxury store in East Hampton in March, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said.
Baseemah Davis, 34, pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny, Tierney said. Davis also pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal possession of stolen property and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, Tierney said.
Davis was arrested on March 3 after she and Jamal Johns, 26, Ali Harris, 28, and Wazir Rodgers, 25 – all of Newark, NJ – and a yet-to-be-identified woman were captured on video of surveillance stealing nearly $94,000 worth of handbags from the store, Tierney said.
Video shows that at 1:30 p.m., a woman, who remains at large, entered Balenciaga wearing a pink ski-type mask over her face and sunglasses, Tierney said. The woman appeared to be on her cell phone as she walked around the store and looked at various handbags; soon after, she asked a store employee to check if he had a particular size shoe, Tierney said.
According to court documents, when the employee tried to retrieve the shoes for her, the three men and Davis, all in masks, rushed into the store and began hastily grabbing luxury handbags from the shelves. , said Tierney. After taking several bags each, the five individuals ran out of the store; they then got into a Dodge Durango and drove off, Tierney said.
Responding officers from the East Hampton Village Police Department located the Durango and began a pursuit that had to be called off; soon after, a New York State Trooper observed the Durango and also initiated a pursuit, Tierney said.
The soldier chased the Durango as the driver exited the Sunrise Freeway at exit 62 and headed north on Route 111, Tierney said. This pursuit also had to be interrupted for security reasons.
as the Durango was traveling at speeds over 100 miles per hour and was observed veering into lanes of oncoming traffic, Tierney said.
The soldier saw the Durango heading west on the Long Island Freeway with smoke billowing from the rear of the vehicle, Tierney said. He followed the vehicle from a safe distance and observed the driver exit the LIE at exit 69, Tierney said. The rider then saw the individuals exiting the Durango; three of them ran to a wooded area just north of their location while two stayed close to the vehicle, Tierney said.
One, later identified as Rodgers, was chased by the trooper on foot and arrested, Tierney said. A subsequent search of the area led to the arrest of Davis, Harris and Johns, along with the
recovery of 34 of the stolen purses, Tierney said.
An investigation to locate the unidentified woman is still ongoing, Tierney said.
Johns, Harris and Rodgers were all charged with grand larceny in the second degree; second degree criminal possession of stolen property; and seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled item
substance, Tierney said, adding that the three remain in custody.
“We will not stop holding accountable those who steal other people’s property. Not only did this defendant and her alleged accomplices enter a retail store and brazenly remove items from shelves, but they put security on others in danger in their attempts to flee from law enforcement. It could have ended tragically,” Tierney said.
Davis is due to render his sentence on September 23 before the Honorable Anthony Senft; John too
has a Sept. 23 court date, Tierney said. Rogers and Harris are due back in court on Friday, Aug. 19, Tierney said.