BRICK — Authorities say they've arrested and charged three people from New York who are connected to several thefts and fraudulent purchases in town and across New Jersey.

The suspects were taken down at Target on Route 70 in Brick, while attempting to conceal merchandise and make purchases with gift cards that had been purchased with a stolen credit card, according to police.

Luis Ramirez-Gonzalez, 29, and Hector Marquez-Tronosco, 41, were charged with shoplifting, credit card fraud, and theft by deception. Esteban Ibarra-Ignacio, 22, was charged with shoplifting, credit card fraud, theft by deception, possession of a fake ID, unlicensed driving, unregistered vehicle and fictitious plates.

Authorities showed up at the Target store on April 6 in response to a report of shoplifting. There was a "heavy response," police say, because of the incident's potential link to a recent string of purse thefts and fraudulent activity at retail stores nearby and elsewhere. The thefts, according to past reports, were being conducted by groups of people who appear to be from Latin or Hispanic descent.

When placed under arrest, Ramirez-Gonzalez was in possession of $233.37 worth of stolen goods, police say. Ibarra-Ignacio, the driver in the alleged operation, was in possession of nearly $1,000 worth of fraudulently obtained merchandise, including an Apple Watch and iPad Mini.

Authorities say they were able to link several thefts and fraudulent purchases in New Jersey to the three subjects.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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