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Woman allegedly steals from Whole Foods

April 04, 2013

Laguna Beach police arrested a woman who allegedly stole more than $200 in groceries from Whole Foods Market on Broadway Street and then tried to change her appearance, Sgt. Louise Callus wrote in an email.

Ismail Dhalia, 35, from Laguna Beach, was charged with commercial burglary and posted the $25,000 bail.

A Whole Foods employee called police about 2 p.m. Friday about a woman who allegedly left the store without paying. A downtown foot patrol officer was in the area and responded to the call within minutes. The officer met with store employees and put out a suspect description.

The officer checked a vehicle in the store parking lot and saw items taken from Whole Foods, police said. Officers stayed in the area — out of sight — and waited for Dhalia to return to her car. A short time later officers spotted Dhalia across the street from Whole Foods. Officers detained Dhalia and identified her as the suspect. Police said the stolen items amounted to $238.

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Officers determined Dhalia left on foot after putting the stolen items in her vehicle. Police said she purchased new clothes from a thrift shop on Broadway Street to disguise her appearance. She returned to the area, where officers contacted her. The clothes she was wearing when she allegedly committed the crime were found in her possession inside a shopping bag.

—Bryce Alderton

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