CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KTVI) - Authorities believe an East St. Louis, Illinois woman with a history of theft cases against her ran an online boutique out of her basement where she was selling stolen merchandise.
Now, 29-year-old Twanna Trotter is behind bars after pleading guilty in a separate 2018 stealing case at a Walmart in Chesterfield, Missouri. On Thursday, Trotter pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Investigators say Trotter has hit most all of the retail areas in Chesterfield, Missouri, just across the Mississippi River from East St. Louis.
Sgt. Keith Rider, of the Chesterfield Police Department, said investigators found roughly $20,000 worth of stolen merchandise in Trotter's East St. Louis home during a police search last November.
Rider said Trotter and others stole the merchandise from many stores, including Chesterfield, then Trotter would try to sell the goods on Facebook.
"She basically had a boutique set up in her basement where she would advertise what she had and show them on the live video and, I guess, hoping for people to come and buy those products (from) her," Rider said. "I describe it as the QVC of stolen clothes. I mean, she had things set up and things she was planning on selling that day."
Rider said his detectives would actually watch Trotter's Facebook Live sessions to see what she was selling.
"The products that they observed she was selling we were able to track back to ... retail areas in Chesterfield as well as throughout St. Louis County, and also as far as Osage Beach," he said.
Rider said Trotter has a history of arrests in Chesterfield for retail thefts. Rider referred to her as a "professional shoplifter" who treated the crimes as a business.
"Retail crime is not a victimless crime," Ridler said. "It's going to drive the prices up. You know there's a lot of other issues with the retail crime and so we really wanted to put a stop to it because she was really hitting the St. Louis area hard."
Rider said the case at Trotter's home is still under investigation by authorities in Illinois. At this point, no charges have been filed yet in connection with that search and seizure.