Man allegedly part of Romanian crime ring charged with theft by swindle

A New York man who is allegedly involved with a Romanian crime ring was charged by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office with one count of theft by swindle in Hennepin County on Thursday, according to court documents.

Authorities say 25-year-old Suraj Tomita is part of a known Romanian organized theft ring that operates all over the country.

On Tuesday, officers from the Edina Police Department responded to a report of a theft at the Apple Store near 10 Southdale Center, according to a criminal complaint.

An Edina detective working off-duty told law enforcement that he was following a man who had just completed a “quick change” theft.

Further investigation revealed that Tomita paid $3,600 in cash for a MacBook laptop and Air Pods. As an employee counted the money, Tomita reportedly made direct eye contact with the employee and took the cash from their hand before removing over half of the money and returning it to the employee, according to court records.

Law enforcement says this kind of “sleight of hand” or “quick change removal of cash” is common among people associated with the Romanian crime ring. After the theft is complete, the suspect will go to a different store location and return the items for full price.

The charges come after 24-year-old Baronita Rostas was charged with theft by swindle for her role in allegedly stealing over $6,000 from several Twin Cities stores.

RELATED: Charges: Member of Romanian crime group stole over $6K from Twin Cities area stores

A spokesperson for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office noted that Tomita was also recently arrested in Massachusetts for similar conduct.

Tomita has his first court appearance on Friday at 1:30 p.m.