EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 2, 2013

Alleged shoplifter wearing ICE monitoring device faces deportation

NORTH ANDOVER — A woman facing deportation and wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement was not supposed to wander outside a certain geographical area.

Apparently that safe area included the Kohl’s Department store at 350 Winthrop Ave., where she was caught allegedly shoplifting.

Arua Yucute Zapata, 34, of 35 Bennington St., Lawrence, entered the store with a large empty bag, according to a report filed with Lawrence District Court by Officer Patrick Beirne, who arrested her last Friday afternoon. A loss prevention specialist saw the woman take three pairs of sandals plus articles of children’s and women’s clothing and go into a dressing room, Beirne wrote.

When the woman left the dressing room and started to leave the store, the loss prevention specialist confronted and detained her, according to Beirne’s report. She had the sandals and clothing stashed in the bag, police said.

The total value of the items Zapata allegedly tried to steal came to $324.97, Beirne wrote. Zapata, who is from Guatemala, initially refused to cooperate with an interpreter, police said.

Police discovered that Zapata was wearing an ankle bracelet issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The federal agency advised local police that Zapata did not have a detainer placed on her and could be released according to normal bail procedures, police said.

ICE does not detain every person who faces a deportation hearing, agency spokesman Ross Feinstein said. It costs the federal government $120 a day to detain a person so the agency issues ankle bracelets to those who are not considered dangerous, he said.

The person wearing the bracelet is told to stay within a particular geographical area pending the hearing, Feinstein said.

At her arraignment in Lawrence District Court this week, Zapata was released on her own recognizance and ordered to return to the court May 30. Feinstein said he could not say whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement would seek a “redetermination” of her status and have her detained instead of wearing a monitoring bracelet.

His agency has a nationwide caseload of 34,000 people and many of them face far more serious charges than shoplifting, he noted.

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